Welcome!

The 2013 Deer Hunting Season has wrapped up. Winter Severity Index (WSI) reports are available under the WSI tab, and Deer Check totals for the year can be found under the Deer Check tab.

Antler Point Restriction (APRs) surveys for the NCLP and SLP are now available:

 

Open Houses:
Upper Peninsula Deer Advisory Team Open House Information PDF icon

Report All Poaching! (800) 292-7800 Hunting Access Season Calendar Quick Reference


Follow Us On:

Facebook Twitter



Click Here To Email Us

 

Don't forget to "tweet" your harvest photo using the hashtag #MiDeerPic!

News Updates

Check out up-to-date DNR Press Releases here.

 

'Ask the DNR' to air April 17 on northern Lower Peninsula's WCMU

Contact: Courtney Jerome (WCMU), 989-774-3105 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

April 8, 2014

"Ask The DNR" comes to Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting (WCMU) Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. The show will focus on fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement topics in Michigan.

The hourlong program features a panel of Department of Natural Resources employees taking questions from viewers who ask questions before or during the show. Questions can be submitted by visiting the "Ask the Specialists" Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AskTheSpecialists), calling 1-800-727-9268 during the program and speaking to phone volunteers, or tweeting with the hashtag #AskThe.

For the full article click here.

 

DNR's Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet April 17 in Newberry

Contact: Stacy Welling Haughey, 906-228-6561 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

April 7, 2014

The Department of Natural Resources' Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) will meet Thursday, April 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Comfort Inn in Newberry, located at 13954 State Hwy. M-28. The meeting will take place in the motel's conference room.

Agenda items will include:

For the full article click here.

 

New deer habitat grant program available; application period opens April 1

Contact: Laurie Abel, 989-732-3541, ext. 5901 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

March 27, 2014

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that, starting April 1, the application period will open for the new Deer Private Land Assistance Network (Deer PLAN) grant program. The Deer PLAN, funded by the Fish and Game Fund, is designed to support private-land deer habitat improvement projects in the northern Lower Peninsula.

"There are two primary goals applicants should strive to meet," said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Piccolo. "The projects should produce tangible deer habitat improvements and build long-term partnerships between the DNR and sportsmen's clubs."

For 2014, $50,000 will be available, focused on the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle. Funds will be allocated across these six counties based on a competitive grant application scoring process.

For the full article click here.

 

Hunters and anglers provide record support for Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger venison collection program

Contact: Raymond Rustem, 517-284-6070 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

March 21, 2014

Thanks to the generosity of many hunters and anglers, Michigan food banks and kitchens will have more fresh venison for meals provided to their visitors. During the 2013-14 license year, the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH) program received more than $50,000 - a record amount - in donations from Michigan outdoorsmen and women.

This voluntary donation program has been part of Michigan's hunting and fishing license-buying experience since 2005, but achieved a record donation level last year.

For the full article click here.

 

Natural Resources Commission to meet Thursday in Roscommon

Contact: Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
Agency: Natural Resources

March 10, 2014

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 13, at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, 104 Conservation Drive, in Roscommon.

The day begins with 10 a.m. meetings of the Marketing, Partnership and Outreach Advisory Committee and the Policy Committee on Finance and Administration.

The Marketing, Partnership and Outreach Committee will hear updates on year-to-date changes in hunting, fishing and camping activity and results from the recent Pure Michigan hunting campaign. The committee also will review U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-supplied data on the economic value of natural resources and get a recap of the recent National Archery in the Schools Mt. Pleasant tournament and statewide winter outdoor recreation programming.

For the full article click here.

 

Wildlife Habitat Grants available through Michigan DNR

Contact: Holly Vaughn, 248-359-9062; Christine Hanaburgh, 517-284-6187; or Kelly Parker, 517-284-5957
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 30, 2014

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting Wildlife Habitat Grant Program applications through March 1, 2014. Projects featuring habitat enhancement for game species will be given priority.

The Wildlife Habitat Grant Program (WHGP) began in October 2013 and will be funded with a portion of the revenue of the hunting and fishing licenses sold each year. The DNR administers the WHGP through a cooperative effort between its Wildlife Division and Grants Management.

For the full article click here.

 

REMINDER: DNR invites Upper Peninsula deer hunters to series of open houses

Contact: Ashley Autenrieth, 989-732-3541 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 17, 2014

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Upper Peninsula Deer Advisory Team (UPDAT) invite Upper Peninsula deer hunters to a series of open houses in January and February to learn more about regional deer management, UPDAT activities, and hunting license changes for 2014.

Open houses are being held in eight U.P. locations through Thursday, Feb. 6.

The open house format includes a short presentation on the above-mentioned topics followed by a question and answer session and the opportunity to visit with local UPDAT members and DNR biologists.

"The first two meetings in Sault Ste. Marie and Ironwood had a good turnout of local deer hunters," said DNR deer program biologist and UPDAT co-chair Ashley Autenrieth. "Everyone seemed to enjoy the chance to talk to each other, and we even had several attendees submit applications to be future UPDAT members."

For the full article click here.

 

DNR allows supplemental feeding of deer in southern U.P. counties with permit

Contact: Craig Albright, 906-786-2351 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 10, 2014

Due to heavy accumulated snowfall, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will allow supplemental feeding of deer in the southern Upper Peninsula by permitted groups and individuals beginning Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Supplemental feeding is only allowed in the southern U.P. during years when accumulated early winter snowfall reaches a depth that is predictive of winter stress, while permitted feeding is allowed annually from January 15 to May 15 in the northern counties found within the Lake Superior snowbelt.

The supplemental feeding provision for the southern U.P. pertains to: Delta, Dickinson, Iron, Mackinac, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties, and south of the T43N-T44N boundary line in Chippewa and Marquette counties.

For the full article click here.

 

DNR invites Upper Peninsula deer hunters to series of open houses; Information meetings will cover new hunting license structure, regional deer management and the U.P. Deer Advisory Team

Contact: Ashley Autenrieth, 989-732-3541 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

Jan. 9, 2014

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Upper Peninsula Deer Advisory Team (UPDAT) invite Upper Peninsula deer hunters to a series of open houses in January and February to learn more about regional deer management, UPDAT activities, and hunting license changes for 2014.

The open houses will be held in eight U.P. locations, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 14 and running through Thursday, Feb. 6.

The open house format will include a short presentation on the above-mentioned topics followed by a question and answer session and the opportunity to visit with local UPDAT members and DNR biologists.

"This is the public's opportunity to learn what we have been working on in the U.P. and also to share with us and the UPDAT what they feel are the most important deer-related issues in the region," said DNR deer program biologist and UPDAT co-chair Ashley Autenrieth.

For the full article click here.

 

DNR finds 2013 firearm deer hunters faced challenges, but persistence pays off

Contact: Brent Rudolph, 517-641-4903; Ashley Autenrieth, 989-732-3541; or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Dec. 5, 2013

Michigan's 2013 firearm deer season wrapped up last weekend, and challenging conditions and lower deer numbers in some areas have likely led to fewer deer being taken this year, the Department of Natural Resources announced today. Firearm season deer check-station activity declined in all regions of the state compared to 2012.

Each year the DNR generates preliminary estimates of the firearm deer harvest shortly after the season closes on Nov. 30. Those estimates are replaced by a rigorous assessment of harvest and participation over all deer seasons using an annual hunter mail survey.

The 2013 firearm deer season harvest appears to have decreased in all regions this year, but particularly in the Upper Peninsula and southern Lower Peninsula. Experiences can differ widely within regions; DNR biologists estimate the harvest (compared to 2012) was down perhaps 15 to 20 percent across the Upper Peninsula, decreased only slightly in the northern Lower Peninsula, and declined perhaps 10 percent in the southern Lower Peninsula.

For the full article click here.

 

DNR reminds hunters about guidelines for importing deer, elk and moose meat taken in other states

Contact: Holly Vaughn, 248-359-9062 or Steve Schmitt, 517-336-5030
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 25, 2013

As successful deer, elk and moose hunters return from trips in Michigan and beyond, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters that there are regulations regarding the importation of carcasses from certain other states and provinces.

For free-ranging deer, elk or moose taken in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North and South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan, restrictions exist on parts of these animals that may be brought into Michigan.

The above states and provinces have detected chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging animals. Only the following parts of a deer, elk or moose carcass may be brought into Michigan: deboned meat, antlers, antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, upper canine teeth or a finished taxidermy mount.

For the full article click here.

 

Deer hunting permits still available at Fish Point and Nayanquing Point

Contact: Holly Vaughn, 248-359-9062; Brandy Berger (Nayanquing Point), 989-697-5101; or Pat Brickel (Fish Point), 989-674-2511
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 18, 2013

Deer hunters looking for a great place to get their buck or doe may want to consider Fish Point or Nayanquing Point Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas. As the names suggest, these areas are used primarily for waterfowl hunting in the fall, but the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says both locations are gems for deer hunting as well.

"Deer densities at Fish Point and Nayanquing Point exceed desired levels," said DNR wildlife biologist Don Bonnette. "Hunters are strongly encouraged to harvest does at these areas."

For the full article click here.

 

Be an ethical hunter -- buy a license before you go out and do not loan kill tags

Contact: Capt. Daniel Hopkins, 989-732-3541, ext. 5045 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 15, 2013

Every deer hunting season, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers encounter individuals engaged in unethical hunting practices, and tackle many cases of individuals buying a hunting license after harvesting a deer or loaning kill tags to a friend or relative.

"Each year, we see cases of individuals waiting to buy licenses until after they have shot a deer," said Capt. Daniel Hopkins of the DNR's Law Enforcement Division. "We remind all hunters that you must buy your license before you go out to hunt and have it in your possession when afield. Buying a license is not only the ethical and responsible thing to do, it is the law. Harvesting a deer without a license is poaching."

For the full article click here.

 

Firearm deer season starts soon - helpful reminders

Contact: Brent Rudolph, 517-641-4903 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Nov. 13, 2013

On Friday, Nov. 15, tens of thousands of Michigan residents and nonresidents will take to the field to enjoy deer hunting. The firearm season runs from Nov. 15-30. Once a deer has been harvested, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters to get their deer "checked" at a local DNR office. Check station hours vary, so hunters should review the list of locations, times and hours at www.michigan.gov/deercheck.

For the full article click here.

 

Conservation officers remind hunters to follow off-road vehicle laws

Contact: Lt. Andrew Turner, 517-373-7109 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 22, 2013

With deer hunting seasons under way, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers remind hunters heading afield using an off-road vehicle (ORV) to follow ORV land-use regulations.

"Each year, we see hunters using ORVs where it is illegal to operate them," said Lt. Andrew Turner, who leads the DNR's Recreation, Safety and Enforcement program. "We remind hunters that ORV restrictions are in place to protect natural resources and minimize user conflict with other hunters and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. To ensure everyone's safety and to help everyone have an enjoyable hunt, we ask riders to know the rules and encourage others to do the same."

For the full article click here.

 

Attention hunters: pipeline construction under way in southern Michigan

Contact: Holly Vaughn, 248-359-9062 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 15, 2013

As hunters go into the field in southern Michigan this season, they should be aware that they may see some construction activity in the woods and should use caution.

Enbridge is currently constructing segments of the Line 6B pipeline in Michigan. This work will continue during both small and big game hunting seasons. The Line 6B pipeline runs from Griffith, Ind., to Marysville, Mich., and crosses 11 counties in Michigan: Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and St. Joseph.

For the full article click here.

 

Use of bait for deer hunting now permitted in Iosco County

Contact: Steve Schmitt, 517-336-5040 or Katie Keen, 231-775-9727
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 15, 2013

Recently the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) authorized the use of bait in Iosco County to hunt deer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today.

In April 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredited Iosco County as bovine tuberculosis (bTB) free, based on the disease not being found in cattle.

For the full article click here.

 

Hunters encouraged to reserve wheelchair-accessible hunting blind at Sleepy Hollow State Park

Contact: Tim Machowicz, 517-651-6217 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 14, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to take advantage of the wheelchair-accessible hunting blind available at Sleepy Hollow State Park this hunting season. The hunting blind includes a rotating floor section for easy turning and is large enough for two people, allowing for an aide to accompany a disabled user. The blind is located adjacent to open fields and wooded areas ideal for hunting.

For the full article click here.

 

Michigan conservation officers stress safety when using a tree stand

Contact: Sgt. Tom Wanless, 517-335-3410 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Oct. 9, 2013

As hunters head to the woods for the archery deer season, Michigan conservation officers are stressing safety for those hunting from tree stands or elevated platforms.

"Tree stands are popular with many hunters who want an increased advantage, but improper use of them can result in injuries and death," said Sgt. Tom Wanless, Hunter Education Program supervisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "We always stress safety when using a tree stand or raised platform."

For the full article click here.

 

Dansville State Game Area offers excellent hunting opportunities

Contact: Holly Vaughn, 248-359-9062 or Joe Belman, 517-641-4903
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 23, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to try Dansville State Game Area this year for excellent hunting opportunities. With nearly 5,000 acres of quality deer, turkey and small game habitat, hunting opportunities abound at this hidden gem, located just 20 miles southeast of Lansing in Ingham County.

For the full article click here.

 

Deer hunters may now place ground blinds on public land earlier

Contact: Lt. Creig Grey, 517-241-1550 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 20, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources today announced that ground blinds for deer hunting purposes now may be placed on public land beginning on Sept. 1.

Previously, deer hunters were not allowed to place ground blinds on public land before Nov. 5. This change makes placement dates and opportunities for ground blinds consistent with those for raised platforms/scaffolds (often called tree stands), which also can be placed on public land as early as Sept. 1.

For the full article click here.

 

DNR offering two hunter education field days in Negaunee and Ironwood in October

Contact: Cpl. Ryan Rademacher, 231-578-1313 or Debbie Munson Badini, 906-226-1352
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 20, 2013

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Hunter Education program will offer two hunter education field days in the Upper Peninsula the weekend of Oct. 12-13. The field days are for hunter education students who have completed the online or home study course, and are a requirement to receive a hunter education safety certificate.

For the full article click here.

 

Antler point restriction updates for Sept. 21- 22 deer hunters

Contact: Brent Rudolph, 517-641-4903 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 18, 2013

After a critical review of the Wildlife Conservation Order, the Department of Natural Resources has determined that ALL qualified participants in the upcoming Sept. 21-22 Liberty Hunt are exempt from antler point restrictions (APRs) in the following areas:

For the full article click here.

 

Governor signs bill to streamline hunting, fishing options and boost investment in natural resources

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation that authorizes important changes to Michigan’s hunting and fishing license structure, simplifying the license options for outdoor enthusiasts - reducing the number of license types by more than 80 percent - and providing vital additional revenue for wildlife and fisheries habitat, conservation, outreach work and law enforcement.

For the full article click here.

 

Help feed the hungry with donation to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger

Contact: Raymond Rustem, 517-373-2457 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 11, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources has made changes to the license sales system, making it easier for hunters and anglers to automatically add $1 to their license purchase as a donation to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH) - a program that supports the processing and distribution of venison to food banks and kitchens in Michigan.

For the full article click here.

 

Antlerless deer application results now available; remaining licenses go on sale Sept. 10

Contact: Brent Rudolph, 517-641-4903 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 5, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters to check their antlerless deer drawing results and availability of remaining licenses at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.

All remaining public and private-land antlerless deer licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. EDT. Licenses will be sold until quotas are met. Licenses may be purchased online at E-license, at any authorized license agent or at a DNR Customer Service Center.

For the full article click here.

 

Winter Severity Index

 

Click here for 2013-14 current to 4/15/2014

Click here for 2012-13 Report

Deer are adapted to survive most Michigan winter weather conditions. However, research suggests that winter weather can affect deer mortality, fawn production, and deer physical condition (including antler development). Factors such as the quality and quantity of habitat types, deer population density, food availability, weather conditions of the previous summer, timing and duration of severe winter weather events, and timing of spring green-up affect the relationship between overall winter weather and the impact on the deer population. Deer may also avoid the worst winter weather by moving to wintering habitat that provides shelter from wind and snow and provides food sources to maintain energy reserves to counteract the effects of low temperatures.

Although the exact nature of a winter's impact on the deer herd can never be predicted, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) monitors winter conditions by calculating a winter severity index (WSI). The WSI reflects the estimated effect of winter weather conditions on the energy reserves of deer; the higher the index value, the larger the potential impact on the herd. More severe winters may require deer to expend more energy than they have available or may require the deer to use energy stores for survival rather than fawn or antler production. Using the WSI can help DNR biologists understand potential impacts of winter weather on the deer herd.

The current WSI system takes advantage of standard weather data available from the National Climatic Data Center. The DNR uses weekly data on air temperature, wind speed, and precipitation from weather stations throughout Michigan and the surrounding area in a series of mathematical equations to calculate a weekly index value from November through April. The WSI values from individual stations are averaged across the three regions of Michigan to give a regional perspective on winter severity. The DNR plots these values over time to provide insight into the pattern of winter severity over the course of the winter and to identify severe weather events. Extended periods of severe weather and very early or very late peaks in severity tend to have the greatest effect on deer.

Due to the complexity of the relationship between the deer population and winter conditions, no single index can predict over-winter mortality, fawn production, or physical condition. Using the WSI as a tool to qualitatively evaluate winter weather severity, the DNR can identify winters that have the potential to severely impact the deer herd. DNR biologists may also measure snow depth and make field observations of deer wintering areas to assess winter mortality and winter physical condition. The biologists use the WSI and their field observations along with a variety of other information to assess the deer population and adjust annual harvest quotas and make management decisions.

2013 Deer Check Numbers

Eastern UP Management Unit   Total 358
Adult Males 308
Adult Females 43
Male Fawns 4
Female Fawns 3
Western UP Management Unit Total 2172
Adult Males 1734
Adult Females 354
Male Fawns 43
Female Fawns 41
Northeastern Management Unit Total 6542
Adult Males 4012
Adult Females 1926
Male Fawns 305
Female Fawns 299
Northwestern Management Unit Total 2427
Adult Males 1336
Adult Females 879
Male Fawns 97
Female Fawns 115
Saginaw Bay Management Unit Total 4487
Adult Males 2816
Adult Females 1275
Male Fawns 186
Female Fawns 210
South Central Management Unit Total 3952
Adult Males 2342
Adult Females 1175
Male Fawns 234
Female Fawns 201
Southeastern Management Unit Total 6406
Adult Males 3531
Adult Females 2130
Male Fawns 344
Female Fawns 401
Southwestern Management Unit Total 2798
Adult Males 1647
Adult Females 849
Male Fawns 163
Female Fawns 139

Season Impressions from the Field


November 17, 2013

Upper Peninsula

Dave Jentoft, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Eastern Upper Peninsula
Temperatures have been in the 50’s today in the EUP, with heavy rain starting around 11:30 and continuing through the afternoon.  It has let up, but is still coming down.  With the warm temperatures and rain, many hunters have opted to stay out of the rain this afternoon.  Hunters are generally seeing fewer deer, and the number of deer checked is down compared to 2012.  Newberry has checked 28 deer so far over the last 3 days, Sault Ste. Marie 11, and Shingleton 4.  However, these are comparable to the 3 year averages for the first 3 days.  Conditions have been similar at the Mackinac Bridge check, where the report around 2:00 was estimated at about 100 deer total so far over the 2 days.

Most bucks checked at the Sault, Newberry, and Shingleton have been 2 ½ or older.  Antler development has varied some.  Yearling antler development has generally been poor, although one 6 point was checked.  Body condition has been good.  Hunter attitudes seem to be descent despite most saying they are seeing fewer deer.  Many are attributing it to the warm weather.  A number of hunters were breaking camp today.

Bill Rollo, Wildlife Technician
Reporting for Western Upper Peninsula
Weather  - rain last night made hunting difficult for the Marquette area for those hunting the evening of the 16th.  The morning of the 17th Sunday) was 51F with no wind.   Heard from hunters that areas still had some snow in spots, the high snowfall zones such as the Twin Lakes area of Houghton County, Ontonagon County, and a dusting still reported in N. Marquette County.

Hunter perceptions:  Crystal Falls reported more shots being heard on the 16th.  Been quiet in the Marquette area.   Hunters at Marquette believe that the winter may have had an effect on deer numbers.
Check Stations:  Escanaba, Crystal Falls, and Marquette are reporting hunters breaking camp and heading home.   21 deer have been checked so far at Marquette, below the 10 year average of 34 deer for this day.   As of 2pm, Crystal Falls has reported 59 deer.  Hunters are starting to break camp.   Deer look to be in good condition at the check stations.  At Marquette, we’ve weighed approximately 12 deer today.  Some nice dressed-weight deer reported (112lbs to 199lbs dressed).   18% of the bucks checked at Marquette have been yearlings, last year the average was 31% for this station during the 12 days of registrations during firearm season.   Baraga is also reporting not seeing many yearlings.  A 9 yr old girl shot a 4 ½ yr old eight pointer in N. Marquette County that dressed at 188lbs, registered this morning at Marquette. 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Jennifer Kleitch,Wildlife Biologist
Very warm weather for the season. Very rainy, wet conditions today. Hunter numbers are consistent with the last two years. People are seeing a lot of deer moving. Size of deer is variable. Have checked just under 200 deer today. Something to note is that we are seeing a lot of first time ever hunters both young and old.

Southeastern Lower Peninsula

Kristin Bissel
Reporting for Hillsdale County/ Hillsdale Country Market Checkstation
Record day for the Hillsdale Country Market checkstation on the 16th for checking deer. This checkstation has checked 707 deer since opening day. Today the weather is very warm and stormy. Despite the weather the checkstation has been very busy and had a steady stream of people today. Although the 15th was a slower day it has really picked up since then. Some people are still having difficulty due to corn still being up in a lot of areas. Overall, it’s been a very good three days and numbers are up from last year.

Southwestern Lower Peninsula

Sara Schaefer, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Plainwell Checkstation
As of 2pm Plainwell has checked 55 deer today which is average for the last few years. Very cold and windy weather today, tornado watch currently in effect. Very few shots and poor hunting conditions today due to weather.  Most people coming in said hunting had been really good the first two days. Most saw a lot of deer and those that were hit hard by EHD last year said they were seeing more deer this year than last. Bucks are looking good, decent antler development. A number of 1.5 year old bucks with 5 or 6 points and looking good. Steady stream of customers today which is normal for the area.

John Niewoonder, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Flat River Field Office and Big Rapids Checkstations
Flat River was above average on opening and slightly below average yesterday and today. Big Rapids is above average in terms of number of deer checked. Hunting conditions were good today, very comfortable temperatures but this afternoon has been very poor weather, tornado like conditions. Lots of corn still up in many areas. It appears that deer populations are lower for the area mainly due to deer populations slowly decreasing over the last few years and due to EHD outbreak last year. Overall, this will likely be a good year but probably below average than the last few years.

 

November 16, 2013

Upper Peninsula

Brad Johnson, Wildlife Technician
Reporting for the West UP in Baraga
Temps in mid 50s, high winds. Hunter pressure similar to last year. Deer check numbers a bit lower than last year. Deer seem to be in good condition. Appear to have hit the rut at a good time, lots of swollen necks and bucks chasing does. Not sure what to expect for pressure in next few days due to weather.

Don Brown, Wildlife Technician
Reporting from the East Upper Peninsula in Shingleton
Saulte Ste Marie is slow today, only one deer registered. Newberry is average, five registered today, and sixteen registered at buck pole last night. Shingleton is average with the last few years with the number of deer registered so far. Hunters saying they are seeing fewer deer than last year. The deer that have come in have had good antler development so far. The weather conditions have not been ideal with temperatures in the mid 40’s and overcast it has made for poor visual conditions and not many deer are moving around. However, next week should be much better for hunting (much colder weather predicted).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Steve Griffith, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau and Kalkaska Counties
Temperatures have been at about freezing each morning and getting into the mid to upper 40s at the peak of the day. Today has been overcast and gusting winds. Deer have been quite active during night due to the nearly full moon. Hunter numbers seem up. Lots of scouting had taken place this year on state land. Number of shots heard seemed average to increased from years prior. Good deer numbers being seen. Lots of hunters reporting seeing a lot of bucks especially in grand traverse as compared to a few years ago. Lots of rut activity occurring. Number of deer registered is down by 40% from last year but may be due to hunters staying at camp for weekend and not bringing their deer in until they head home. Antler development has been very good. Most fruit and nut producing trees in the area are producing very well which has helped hunters focus their efforts.

Mark Monroe, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Gaylord and Pigeon River Areas
Weather in the Gaylord area was mid 30’s opening morning with partly cloudy skies in the morning becoming clear and mid 40’s in the afternoon.  The southern part of the area and scattered snow cover, especially in the shaded areas.  The second day was mid 30’s in morning and overcast, becoming breezy by mid – afternoon.
Hunter numbers were the same as the 10 year average in the Pigeon River area and were the same as last year in the southern part of the Gaylord area.
Hunters are seeing decent numbers of deer; bucks appear to be running bigger per age class in Otsego County, but that is an observation, I am not sure what the data is showing.  Bucks were still chasing does the last two days.  Two of the bigger bucks check today were following does.
The Gaylord check station for rifle season as of 3:00pm has check 18% more deer than last year.
We had a dandy 10 pt from Southern Montmorency county checked in today that was shot this morning.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Julie Oakes, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Holly Area
Fewer people out hunting today than opening day in state game areas (which is normal). However, normally about half the people stop hunting the state game areas after opening day but this year only 1/3 had left. People aren’t seeing a lot of deer. Most hunters appear to be enjoying their time but aren’t hearing a lot of shots. Temps in high 30s and is over 50 already at 2pm. No rain or snow. People enjoying weather but would like to see more deer.

Mike Parker, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Jerome Country Market, Hillsdale County
39 this morning, 55 this afternoon, overcast. Overall impression is that deer sightings and number of shots heard appear to be down this year. People aren’t seeing a lot of deer movement. Howeverr, there have been lots of complaints about corn still being up throughout area. Despite the early impressions so far it has been a busy day at station, checking over  574 deer so far today. Deer are very healthy looking, good antler development.

Terry McFadden, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for St. Clair County
Hunting conditions are very good, mild temps in day and cool in evening. Seeing lots of deer. No rain, very dry in woods. Southern portions of county still have corn but most other areas the corn is down.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Pete Kailing, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Big Rapids Checkstation
Count going well, warmer than average. All corn off. Deer hunters appear to be out in good numbers. Lots of shooting in the morning, good number of camps on state land. So far, the highway checkstation has Registered 50 deer (by 1pm). Good antler development observed and there are a lot of older deer being registered. Seeing lots of rutting activity. Seem to be more bucks than usual seen by hunters. Overcast, high 40s, looks like rain later. Excellent day to be out. No disease observed. Lots of questions about the license package and lots of support for the NW APR.

Steve Chadwick, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Crane Pond
Second day at Crane Pond went well we check just over 40 deer.  Some really nice bucks from Berrien County today.  Weather was overcast with steadily warming temperatures.  Some light precipitation at times, but nothing that would deter hunters.  Activity on the Game Area was consistent for a second day with a few shots heard this morning.  Overall hunters seem to be satisfied with the season.  Many are seeing deer and have reported that deer numbers are better than last year, but still not to the levels they were prior to 2012 EHD outbreak.

 

November 15, 2013

Upper Peninsula

Kristie Sitar, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Newberry, Sault Ste. Marie and Shingleton areas
Temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s with wind at about 10-15mph. No precipitation reported and no snow is on the ground. Hunter numbers appear to be similar to last year with some areas slightly higher than last year, specifically in DMU 349 there appears to be an increase in hunter numbers. Prior to the opener many people had reported seeing fewer deer than last year. Opening day at the checkstations is typically slow but the deer that have been checked in the east UP so far have had average to good antler development and good fat deposits.

Monica Joseph, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the West UP
Temperatures were at about freezing in the early morning and increase to the low 40s by the afternoon. The Escanaba area had some freezing rain the night before but other than that no precipitation was reported. The Crystal Falls area did have a heavy fog set in which made for difficult viewing conditions until late morning. So far checkstation numbers are down but it is very early to tell if that will continue or not. The deer that have come in have had good body condition but antler development has been poorer than last year so far.

Northern Lower Peninsula

Bruce Barlow, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Gladwin and Arenac areas
Temperatures were in the high 40s to low 50s throughout the day. Hunters were met with rain as the shooting hour approached but it tapered off quickly in most areas and became sunny for the remainder of the day. Hunter numbers were variable with more hunters occupying the Gladwin Field Dog Trial area and fewer hunters observed in the Lame Duck Walk-in area. The number of shots heard was on track with last year in most areas though a few reported fewer shots than last year. Deer checked were in good condition with average body size and antler development.

Brian Piccolo, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Northeast Northern Lower
Much of the northeast Northern Lower had scattered showers in the early morning including Clare, Hale, and Lincoln. Hunters in the Clare area reported hearing fewer shots this morning as compared to previous years. In Mio we received several reports of hunters seeing very nice bucks and increased deer numbers. Number of shots heard appeared to be up for most that reported in. So far the Lincoln checkstation has registered the same number of deer checked at this time last year and reports from hunters in the Lincoln area indicated that deer numbers are up and so were the number of shots heard.
Number of shots heard and number of cars counted is within the 10 year average for the Gaylord area.

Southeast Lower Peninsula

Don Bonnette, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for the Bay City and Cass City areas
Temperatures were in the 40s with no wind. Most areas are dry but a few spots received a small amount of precipitation early in the morning. About 75% of the corn in the Thumb area has been harvested. Hunter numbers and deer seen on both public and private land appear to be average for the last few years. However, hunters have reported hearing more shots than normal this morning.

Kristin Bissel, Wildlife Biologist
So far we have checked 170 deer but so far this opener seems to be slower than last year. We’ve seen excellent antler development with both the 1.5 and 2.5 year old age classes so far. The corn has yet to be harvested in a number of areas which may be having an impact on deer movement. So far the hunters who have been successful in harvesting a deer are coming from areas that have already harvested their corn.

Southwest Lower Peninsula

Nik Kalejs, Wildlife Biologist
Hunting conditions were comfortable for the firearm opener, with cloudy skies in the morning becoming mostly sunny in the afternoon.  Morning lows ranged from the upper 30s to low 40s, with afternoon highs reaching the low 50s.  We had some scattered light sprinkles around 6 am, but the day was dry, and no snow on the ground.

Hunter numbers based on car counts were variable, with Rogue River SGA (NW Kent County) car counts up 21% from last year, while the East Unit at Muskegon SGA was down 15%.  Private land activity seemed to be similar to last year.  Another factor to consider is the Friday opener.  We had a few less deer camps on the local SGAs.  It is possible that some hunters were using the long weekend to travel farther for their opening day hunts than they would have for a mid-week opening day.   

We checked deer at the Muskegon SGA (near Twin Lake, in Muskegon County) and West Walker Sportsmen’s Club by Grand Rapids.  Muskegon SGA counts were similar to 2012 numbers (20 vs. 22) but West Walker was down (only 12 deer vs. 19 in 2012).  Most of the deer brought in on the opener were bucks, with over 80% of the antlered bucks checked as yearlings (1 ½).  The nicest buck checked so far was an 8 pointer from Dayton Township in Newaygo County (38 mm bean diameters).  Hunter numbers seemed to be down on the Muskegon River bottoms. 

Hunters generally reported a relatively slow opener, with fewer deer seen than usual, although hunter attitudes still seemed to be satisfactory.  However, a few private land hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer in southern Muskegon County.  DNR staff local impressions (C.O.s and Wildlife staff) was that hunting success was below average, and that deer rutting activity was less active than last year. 

There were no public land incidents or major problems reported or observed.  Another opening day factor to consider is the state of the corn harvest in many areas.  Across the northern tier of counties in the SW Region, the eastern half of this tier had corn harvest levels in the 80% range, based on MSU Extension input.  The farther north and west you went, the corn harvest levels dropped considerably, with many local areas only in the 50% harvested range.

Ken Kesson, Wildlife Biologist
Reporting for Crane Pond State Game Area
The day started out in the low 40s and gradually warmed to the low 50s with mainly cloudy skies. There was no snow on the ground and no observable precipitation occurred.

There were good numbers of hunters using the Game Area with numbers up a bit from last year. The check station was fairly busy with an average - moderate number of hunters bringing in deer. Overall, we checked about 50 deer with the majority being bucks and about half being over 2 1/2 years of age. Most of the deer came from Cass and St Joe County with a few coming from Van Buren and Berrien Counties. A couple deer were very large in both weight and antler size. Two youths checked their very first deer which was a great experience for all. Overall deer condition looks excellent with moderate tallow deposits and good health in general. Hunters seemed satisfied in general and most were content with their experience afield. In later conversations with hunters from northern Branch County, there seemed to be less deer sightings but lots of shooting taking place especially early on; this seemed consistent with what the hunters at the check station were telling us that were hunting on private lands as well.

Aside from a couple injuries that appeared to be from fighting or being shot in archery season, there were no unusual observations noticed at the check station (in the deer that came in at least).