Advisory issued on illegal blinds

GLADSTONE — Concern is growing in national forests about the incidence of abandoned or so-called “permanent” blinds on public lands.

Illegal blinds pose several risks, including safety hazards, environmental damage and hunter conflicts.

Hiawatha National Forest Supervisor Cid Morgan offers several reminders to hunters who use hunting blinds and stands on national forest lands. First, review Michigan hunting regulations that require:

— Hunting blinds and stands on public lands must be portable and temporary.

— Hunting platforms cannot be affixed or attached to any tree by nails, screws, or bolts and screw-in tree steps are illegal, meaning it is unlawful to use any item that penetrates through the bark of a tree in the construction or affixing of any device to assist in climbing a tree.

— Blinds and stands can be placed no earlier than Sept. 1 and must be removed by Jan. 1.

— The name, phone number and address of the owner must be posted on the blind/stand.

— Failure to remove any type of blind, structure, equipment or trash can result in fines, costs, and removal, destruction, impoundment and/or seizure of those items.

Hunters using blinds on national forest lands should also be aware that cutting branches, limbs, trees, or other vegetation for shooting lanes or to construct blinds is prohibited.

The U.S. Forest Service encourages hunters and the public in general to contact the local national forest office anytime they notice illegal blinds on federal forest lands.