Park Closure Information
Please note that North Ottawa Dunes & Ottawa Sands will be CLOSED for an annual wildlife management hunt on Friday, November 17 through Monday, November 20, 2023. Access is by permission only; those in the parks without permission will be ticketed. The parks will re-open Tuesday, November 21.
Hunters are chosen each year by lottery – learn more here. Hunting lotteries open in August and hunters are chosen in October.
Wildlife Management on the Lakeshore
The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission has approved limited recreational hunting to manage deer populations at North Ottawa Dunes and Ottawa Sands parks for these reasons:
- Deer exclosures at North Ottawa Dunes and Hoffmaster State Park indicate an overabundance of deer is negatively affecting the dune ecosystems
- Exceedingly high deer populations have resulted in a lack of forest under story
- Wildlife depending on under story plants have been negatively impacted
- There are few young trees to replace canopy trees when they die
This is a long-term project. It has taken many years to reach the current condition of the forest; therefore, it will take years of management to restore the land’s health.
Hunting is an important part of managing natural lands and parks in Ottawa County. Biodiversity is dependent on a delicate balance of predator and prey populations. In Michigan, this balance has been altered by a significant loss of predators, like wolves. As a result, some prey populations, such as deer, do not have the natural checks and balances needed to prevent overpopulation. Humans have always been and continue to play an important role in hunting prey populations.
Hunting on Ottawa County Parks property
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation offers hunting on over 4,500 acres of selected properties with some restrictions intended to protect hunters and park visitors alike. Before you head out to hunt, please review the rules and permit requirements.