FAQ Hunting on Conservancy Land

The Conservancy currently allows hunting on more than 160 land parcels that it owns as nature preserves or working forest reserves. These parcels are scattered across the five-county service area of Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Chippewa, and Mackinac counties.

Why is hunting allowed on LTC lands?

  • Hunting provides public benefit. Hunting is culturally a historic recreational activity for many people across the region’s socio-economic spectrum. For many, it is one of their primary interactions with nature. It can also be a means to secure affordable and healthy food.

  • Hunting does not conflict with our conservation of the property. LTC is changed with protecting the lands and habitats under our wing. The state (DNR) is charged with ensuring that wildlife populations are not over exploited by enforcing regulations around harvest. By protecting habitat, we help ensure that wildlife (of all forms) can exist at healthy levels, accounting for the effect of hunting.

  • Hunting does not generally conflict with other recreational uses because:

    1. LTC holds a large enough portfolio of lands to also provide access to non-hunting lands throughout our service area for people seeking land for other uses.

    2. Most hunting coincides with low use times by other user groups (early and late in the day, or in the shoulder season when the area’s regional population is lower).

    3. Most hunters stay away from areas of high use. For example, a deer hunter associates a trail with high human use. This inherently means lower likelihood of success.

    4. LTC’s experience has been that hunters and non-hunters usually act with respect towards the other users. The opportunity for education and positive interaction is higher than some may believe.

  • Remaining relevant to a broad spectrum of constituents is important to LTC. In our new strategic plan, LTC re-affirmed our commitment to serving our communities by providing access that is consistent with the protection of our lands while increasing our relevance to as many people as possible. Universal access, mountain bike enhanced trails, and unique access opportunities (labyrinth, megaphone, etc) are all examples of LTC trying to facilitate appropriate uses to more people. Allowing hunting is consistent with this emphasis on appropriate use.

  • Deer populations affect the ecosystem and hunting is and appropriate way to keep them in check. The impact to Little Traverse Conservancy preserves and reserves from unchecked deer populations is that our forests will lose biodiversity in their understories, and young trees will not be able to grow up and take the place of older trees as they die off. Oaks are essential for insect diversity and for birds and mammals that rely on acorns for food.

    Deer eat oak tops and young leaves, and saplings are often destroyed by bucks rubbing their antlers on them. Many of northern Michigan’s iconic wildflowers (such as Trilliums) are also favored snacks among White-tailed deer. With so many deer biting the flowering tops off of wildflowers, seed production is limited. The herbaceous plants on the forest floor will lack diversity, with maple seedlings often the most abundant ground cover.

Every LTC nature preserve or working forest reserve that is open to hunting has a notification sign at the entrance. 

For a list and interactive map of all LTC lands that are open to hunting, visit HERE

Every fall, LTC updates a list of nature preserves or working forest reserves with trails that are NOT open to hunting. You can find that list HERE. 


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