Old Mission Point Park Trail on the Old Mission Peninsula
Old Mission Point Park Trail on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
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I was talking to an OMP friend last night who didn’t realize that hunting and trapping are allowed in certain Peninsula Township parks and nature preserves.

Which means if you’re out walking the trails at Lighthouse Park with your dog and hear a gunshot, that’s likely someone hunting nearby and not something more nefarious.

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There are so many hunting regulations in Michigan that I hesitate to even venture into the topic. But because we have so many trail walkers on the Old Mission Peninsula, I’ll take a gander at it.

The short answer is that if you’re walking the trails on ANY OMP park or nature preserve other than Pelizzari Park (where hunting is not allowed), be aware that hunters with guns or archery may be sharing the parks with you. And if you do venture out there, wear bright orange.

Here’s the rundown on where and when hunting is allowed in Peninsula Township parks and nature preserves. (Again, note that hunting is not allowed in the Pelizzari Natural Area, so walk that trail to your heart’s content.) And be sure and check out the 2019 Michigan Hunting Digest for more details.

Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park

Lighthouse Park and Old Mission Point Park have the same trail system. And because Old Mission Point Park was acquired by lease with the help of the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, this land is also accessible to hunters.

I called the DNR to learn more about what hunting is allowed in these parks, and they directed me to Grand Traverse County, who directed me back to Peninsula Township.

My husband Tim talked with Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold, who indicated that whatever is allowed per the DNR regulations is allowed at Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park. Per the signs at the lighthouse, “Hunting is allowed per DNR regulations.”

Old Mission Point Park on the Old Mission Peninsula
Old Mission Point Park on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

Note that even though hunting is allowed here, Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park do not show up on any of the DNR hunting maps. In fact, none of the OMP parks or nature preserves show up on any of the DNR hunting maps.

However, here’s the basic hunting schedule as noted on the DNR website (again, check out the 2019 Michigan Hunting Digest, and hunters, feel free to jump in with more info in the comments section below):

  • Cottontail Rabbit and Snowshoe Hare: Sept. 15, 2019 – March 31, 2020
  • Crow: Aug. 1 – Sept. 30, 2019; Feb. 1 – March 31, 2020
  • Deer/Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2019; Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Deer/Regular Firearm: Nov. 15 – 30, 2019
  • Deer/Muzzleloading/Zone 2 (that’s us): Dec. 6 – 15, 2019
  • Deer/Late Antlerless Firearm: Dec. 23, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Pheasant (male only)/Zone 2: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14, 2019
  • Quail: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14, 2019
  • Ruffed Grouse: Sept. 15 – Nov. 14, 2019; Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse: Oct. 10 – 31, 2019
  • Squirrel (Fox and Gray): Sept. 15, 2019 – Mar. 31, 2020
  • Wild Turkey: April 22 – May 31, 2019 (no 2020 dates are noted)
  • Woodcock: Sept. 21 – Nov. 4, 2019
  • Waterfowl: Click here.

Opossum, porcupine, weasel, red squirrel, skunk, ground squirrel, woodchuck, Russian boar (note: I’ve never seen those on the Lighthouse trails), feral pigeons, starling and house sparrows may be taken year-round with a valid Michigan hunting license.

Old Mission Point Park on the Old Mission Peninsula
Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park | Peninsula Township Map

Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve

Located at Bowers Harbor, this 159-acre nature preserve falls under the jurisdiction of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

According to the Conservancy’s website, only bow-hunting for deer is allowed here. Per the DNR regulations noted above, this would take place from Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2019; and Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020.

Read more about Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve here.

Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy Map
Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy Map

Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve

Most people probably don’t even know this little preserve exists. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I started researching hunting on the Old Mission Peninsula for this story.

The Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve falls under the jurisdiction of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and is located at the north end of Brinkman Road on the right. Part of it borders Murray Road.

Unbeknownst to us, Tim and I actually walked through this preserve a couple weeks ago and discovered a giant tree hidden away next to the bog, straight out of a “Lord of the Rings” movie.

Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve | Jane Boursaw Photo
Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve | Jane Boursaw Photo

It’s probably a good thing that most people don’t know about this preserve, because as noted on the Conservancy’s website, it features “fragile and unique habitats and is considered a ‘sanctuary.'”

Two-thirds of this preserve is, in fact, a bog and represents the only bog natural community on the Old Mission Peninsula. The property is sanctuary for the bald eagle and has two wet openings that are used heavily by a variety of birds and animals.

Hunting in Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy Map
Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve | Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy Map

“Although Brinkman Bog is open to the public,” notes the Conservancy website, “its sensitive features are not suited to disturbance, and dense vegetation makes human passage difficult so there is no parking area or trails.”

However, archery hunting for deer is allowed here, as well as small game, waterfowl and turkey hunting, as follows:

  • Cottontail Rabbit and Snowshoe Hare: Sept. 15 – Mar. 31
  • Deer/Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2019; Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
  • Squirrel (Fox and Gray): Sept. 15, 2019 – Mar. 31, 2020
  • Wild Turkey: April 22 – May 31, 2019 (no 2020 dates are noted)
  • Woodcock: Sept. 21 – Nov. 4, 2019
  • Waterfowl: Click here.

Power Island

According to an UpNorthLive.com story by Devon Mahieu, the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Department has opened Power Island and the connected Bassett Island for deer archery hunting during the Michigan DNR’s archery season.

The announcement comes as a recommendation from the DNR to help control the deer population, writes Devon. “Power Island has been opened to bow hunters for the past ten years to prevent deer on the island from starving due to lack of vegetation.”

The archery seasons are from Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2019 and Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020.

The Parks and Rec Department said hunters may use the ten campsites on the island on a first-come, first-serve basis, although the restrooms will be closed and the well winterized.

Hunters are not required to register with Grand Traverse County Parks and Rec to hunt on Power Island, but they’re encouraged to notify the department as a courtesy if any deer are harvested, by calling (231) 922-4818. Call that number for more info about hunting on the island, as well.

Trapping/Fur Harvesting on the Old Mission Peninsula

No one we’ve talked to, including Township Supervisor Rob Manigold, seems to be quite sure whether trapping is allowed on the Old Mission Peninsula or not. Because of the restrictions at Pyatt Lake, Power Island, and the Brinkman Bog Nature Preserve, the only place it would be allowed is Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park.

Rob noted that whatever is allowed in our zone – Zone 2 – per the DNR hunting regulations, is allowed at Lighthouse Park/Old Mission Point Park. Which indicates that trapping and fur harvesting is indeed allowed there.

The DNR regulations for trapping and fur harvesting, including what can be harvested and when, can be found here.

I would post them here, but the schedule gets into the weeds with not only zones, but also various units (A, B, C, etc.), so if you have questions, best to call the DNR at the customer service centers for our zone (Zone 2), which include the Cadillac Customer Service Center, (231) 775-9727, or Traverse City Customer Service Center, (231) 922-5280.

If anyone has other info about hunting in the parks and preserves on the Old Mission Peninsula, tell us in the comments section below.

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Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan

2 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to you and your husband, Jane, for the research and all the pertinent info to those of us that hike these pathways. As trapping “may-be” allowed in the tip of Old Mission park system I would encourage individuals to not wander off the designated pathways…

    • Thanks, Gary. Good thought on not wandering off the path. I saw a family of four with two dogs (off-leash) park at the fire trail parking lot and start to take off, and I gave them a heads up about hunting and especially trapping, since they had their dogs with them. I wish there was better signage about the hunting and trapping at all the trailheads, parking areas.

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