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Pre-Firearm Deer Season Update

Hello, this is Chad Stewart, deer
management specialist for the Department of Natural Resources. The 2018
Michigan deer hunting season is upon us and there’s certainly reason for optimism
around the state. In the Upper Peninsula we have seen herds recovering from the
harsh winters of 2013 and 2014. Our harvests increased in the UP over 55%
last year and all signs point to improvement again this year. In the
Lower Peninsula our harvests have been showing steady increases over the past
couple of years, so there will definitely be opportunities for most hunters to be
successful provided they’ve done the necessary steps leading up to the season,
like scouting and sighting in their equipment. Before you go into the field
visit our website at to get caught up on the latest in deer
management in Michigan. We have a host of resources available, including links on
where to hunt, purchase an antlerless license, and where to get your deer checked.
With the discovery of chronic wasting disease and the continued detection of
tuberculosis in parts of the state we are asking hunters to be aware that your
actions matter to limit the impact of either of these diseases. Checking your
deer not only helps our surveillance program but also provides information
for deer management. Michigan has the biological data on over 1 million deer
since 1987. A testament to sustained cooperation by hunters who are committed
to science-based management. Many areas are seeing increases in deer numbers and
Michigan has only harvested more antlerless deer than antlered deer in a year four
times since 1970. If you’re seeing plenty of deer in your area, consider filling a
tag on a mature doe. If you’ve met your venison needs for your family for the
year, consider donating an extra deer through the Michigan Sportsman Against
Hunger program. Check out a list of participating processors at And finally as you go into the woods,
keep in mind this is the 124th season for licensed deer hunting in Michigan, and
though Michigan has some of the highest number of deer hunters and one of the
richest deer hunting traditions of any state in the country – understand that
only about 5% of people living in the state participate in deer hunting. Keep
this in mind when you come across another hunter, especially one who
uses different hunting equipment or as different harvest standards than you.
Sportsmanship can apply to hunters both in and out of the field. Whether you
define success as shooting a trophy buck or simply enjoying time spent with
friends and family at deer camp, have a successful and safe deer hunting season.

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