For many, the changing leaves and cooler nights marks the beginning of fall. For others, it means deer hunting season.

Junior Gar­rison Grisedale poses with a buck during deer hunting season. Gar­rison Grisedale | Courtesy

Deer hunting season began on Sunday in Michigan. Bow hunting became legal on Sunday, and on Nov. 15, firearm deer hunting is allowed for two weeks.This year, new reg­u­la­tions exist due to increased cases of Chronic Wasting Disease among Michigan deer.

CWD is a fatal con­ta­gious neu­ro­logical disease capable of infecting deer and elk. To prevent the disease from spreading, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has imple­mented new reg­u­la­tions for hunters who hunt out of state.

Beginning this season, it is for­bidden to bring a full deer back to Michigan. According to the DNR website, hunters can only bring back parts of the deer such as hides, deboned meat, fin­ished taxi­dermy products, and cleaned skullcaps or antlers.

Dave Wheeler, man­u­fac­turer of Lucky Buck mineral, a mineral used for deer baiting, said he doesn’t think the law will have a big effect on Hillsdale County.

“I don’t know a whole lot of hunters in the county who hunt out of state,” Wheeler said. “It hope­fully shouldn’t be a big deal.”

According to the DNR, nine deer have tested pos­itive for CWD in Michigan since it was first spotted in 2015.

Michigan now has two CWD man­agement areas con­sisting of five counties in central Michigan. The areas where deer have tested pos­itive is limited to 17 town­ships within those counties. Lansing is among those town­ships.

With no cases of CWD in Hillsdale County, res­i­dents are still preparing for the season.

Callie Edwards, manager of the Hillsdale branch of the Family, Farm and Home store, said she has noticed an uptick in hunting related pur­poses in the last month.

“People are def­i­nitely getting ready for hunting,” Edwards said. “Along with feed and bows, the hunting cameras have been espe­cially popular lately.”

For many res­i­dents, hunting is a family activity. Hillsdale res­ident Chris Zahn, 17, said he hunts with his uncle.

“It’s a lot better to hunt with someone than by yourself,” Zahn said.

Zahn shot his first deer when he was 15. In the past year, he’s had to hunt for coyotes as well deer, in order to protect his family’s farm animals.

“It’s not as fun as it sounds. You’re outside at night in the pitch black for hours,” Zahn said. “It’s hard —  they can smell and hear your every move.”