Hunting Season During COVID-19


Hunting season has arrived. While hunters are used to facing potential hazards, this year’s list includes other considerations beyond firearm safety. COVID-19 cases have surged in northern Michigan,and the 2021 hunting season put you at risk without the right precautions. Familiarizing yourself with the updated safety policies and suggestions can arm you and fellow hunters for an enjoyable and safe hunting experience that doesn’t lead to sickness.

Planning Ahead

If you’re hunting with people outside your immediate household, think about the steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading and getting COVID. Steps to consider:

  • Get Vaccinated. If you haven’t had your COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time! Even if you’re part of the small percentage that gets a breakthrough infection, the vaccine can prevent severe symptoms from occurring.

  • Avoid sharing overnight lodging accommodations if you’re hunting with others outside your household.

  • Use your debit or credit card to avoid contact with paper money, which is notorious for germs.  

  • Pack hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) to keep your hands clean when soap and water is unavailable. As a strong reminder, hand sanitizer is also available at gun ranges, shooting stations, and other touchpoints, according to Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

  • If you’re not hunting solo, plan evening activities that allow your group to enjoy each other’s company while keeping a safe distance of six feet or more from one another.

  • If you are using a guide service, check ahead of time to make sure you bring the right items – especially your own eye and ear protection, as those items will not be provided and should not be shared.

Before You Head Out

deer hunting during covid-19 Do a health check. Pay close attention to how you are feeling leading up to your hunt! If you have any respiratory symptoms – such as a runny nose, congestion, shortness of breath, or sore throat – don’t ignore the possibility that these could be COVID-19 symptoms. Contact your doctor to see if you should be tested for COVID-19. If you don’t have a primary care provider, call our free Ask-A-Nurse line at 231-935-0951 (available daily, 7 am - 11 pm).

Don’t forget your sanitizing supplies. At a minimum, aim to keep a clean pair of disposable gloves, pocket-size sanitizer wipes, and a bottle of hand sanitizer on you at all times.

Don’t forget your mask... and a few extras. Wearing a mask makes a difference. Mask up, especially indoors around others, including public DNR facilities. Consider packing disposable masks so you don’t have to worry about routinely washing your homemade mask. Hunting with family or friends outside of your household?  Don’t gamble, even outdoors. With a regional surge of COVID-19 cases coinciding with flu season, it’s better to play it safe with a mask (and physical distancing) than get sick and/or expose others.

Bring plenty of water. Avoid water fountains and remember to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated while you’re on the move.

Review the above precautions with junior hunters. Kids can and do get COVID-19 – and they face their own unique health complications should they become severely ill. If you’re taking a child along with you, make sure he/she is also equipped with sanitizing essentials and continue to reiterate the importance of hand cleansing, mask-wearing, and other precautions as part of your safety lessons.

While You’re Hunting

Set the example. As a hunter, safety has likely always been a paramount to your sport. Just like last year’s hunting season, it’s more important than ever to bring your A-game to the safety department. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to others in your party – it’s not worth putting your health at risk.  Set some ground rules with fellow hunters that help everyone in your group honor physical distancing of six or more feet and wear masks during times when distancing is not possible.

Follow the capacity and safety guidelines. Keep on the lookout for additional signage displaying newly added guidelines and encourage others around you to do the same.

Don’t forget to sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Hand sanitizer is a great option if soap and water is unavailable. Remember to use your hand sanitizer (with 60% or more alcohol) after contact with commonly touched surfaces like handrails, doors, and bathroom facilities.

Questions? Ask-A-Nurse!

Still wondering about hunting during COVID-19 – or have any health-related question? A Munson Healthcare nurse is standing by and ready to help! Call Ask-A-Nurse any time to speak with a registered nurse. This service is completely FREE and no insurance is required.

Ask-A-Nurse   231-935-0951