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Michigan firearm deer harvest down: Significantly

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Hunters might think deer hunting during firearm seasons in Illinois has been tough, but it looks like Michigan hunters had an even tougher time with harvest down 10-20 percent during the firearm season that ended last month..

Here's the word from the Michigan DNR:

DNR Preliminary Estimates Show Firearm Deer Harvest Declines 10 to 20 Percent from Last Year

Initial estimates indicate Michigan firearm deer hunters killed 10 to 20 percent fewer deer this year than in 2008, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Decreased harvests were most noticeable in the Upper Peninsula and less apparent in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Weather -- both a harsh 2008-2009 winter and unseasonably high temperatures during most of the firearm season -- likely contributed to the decreased harvest, wildlife officials said. Although weather across the state was good to ideal for hunters to sit in the woods, it was less than optimal for encouraging deer movement.

DNR biologists estimate the harvest was down by 20 to 30 percent in the Upper Peninsula, 15 to 25 percent in the northern Lower Peninsula, and 5 to 10 percent in the southern Lower Peninsula.

*The season has gone pretty much as we expected in the Upper Peninsula,* said DNR deer program leader Brent Rudolph. *We set antlerless quotas lower in anticipation of a smaller deer herd following last winter. We may have had fewer hunters in the Upper Peninsula. If you have fewer deer, fewer hunters, and deer moving less than usual, those factors are going to have an effect on your deer harvest.*

Biologists were a little surprised by the size of the decrease of the harvest in the northern Lower Peninsula, where a more modest decline was anticipated.

*Check stations reported a lower than usual percentage of 1*-year-old bucks in the Upper and northern Lower Peninsula, an indication of poor survival of last year*s fawns,* Rudolph said. *Antler development was below average as well, another indication of the impact of last winter*s severity.*

In southern Michigan, a cool summer that caused corn to mature late and a wet October put the corn harvest far behind schedule, providing additional sanctuary for deer in many areas.

*The corn harvest was around 35 percent by Nov. 16,* Rudolph said. *In an average year it*s 80 percent. So it*s likely that some deer never left the standing corn. That may become apparent during the muzzleloader season.*

Rudolph emphasized the preliminary estimates show a wide range in the harvest because of changes in data collection this season.

*Because we operated so many fewer deer check stations, we could not utilize the models as we have in previous years for our preliminary estimate of the firearm season harvest,* he said. *But we*ll have solid numbers next spring after the mail survey is completed and those are the numbers we use for making management decisions.*

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, accessible use and enjoyment of the state*s natural resources for current and future generations.

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6 Comments

I live in the Upper Penninsula and hunt in the lower penninsula and I did shoot a deer this year. They don't shoot deer in the Upper Penninsula anymore because wolves have ate a majority of them. It is not because of what the DNR tells you. They don't want to say that wolves go into the deer yards in the winter and have a deer killing frenzy.

I think that it is time to start looking at the effects that coyotes have on a deer herd.Iam hearing and seeing more an more of them.i believe that they are killing more fawns than anyone really knows.I just got done reading an article that was in the dec.issue of american hunter,on the effects that coyotes have on a deer heard.I think he is right on!If you get a chance read this article,you wont believe what he has to say. I think Michigans deer heard is being effected by these dogs!!! What do you think?

I hunt in the St.Clair County area in South East Michigan and i been hunting around here most my life and this year has been bad with coyotes, I usually see anywhere from 5-10 deer and 20-40 turkeys a day over the last few years but this year i didnt see a one. I did however see several coyotes and found one dead 7point buck that was killed sometime dureing the night. Something has to be done over this becouse i see the deer heard,and turkey population droping fast just around here and have herd alot of the same stories from other hunters in the area.

I hunt in Northern Newaygo County and have hunted the same 340 acre cedar swamp for the past 34 years and never had gone a whole opening day without seeing a deer until this year. Me and my wife and son and daughter in law hunted all day from morning till dark with out seeing so much as a doe. The property that we hunt is State owned and has been slowly going down hill for the last ten to fifteen years. While the DNR says that it is because of warm weather ,lack of hunters and the corn crop not being harvested .I believe that it is because of over harvesting of the doe population over the last several years, extremely hard winters for the past couple of years and a overall lack of a definate plan to make Michigan a Quality deer state . Lets face it we are surrounded by excellant deer states and yet we continue to be a state where no one who really wants to kill a good buck comes to hunt .

Where I hunt (Cass County) there used to be an overabundance of deer about 6 years ago. I shot 4 deer with my bow and could have shot 10 more but I was waiting for at least one buck. I saw a couple regularly but they disappeared half way through the season. I started hearing barages of automatic gunfire on the surrounding farms even before the seasons started right at dusk. This would continue throughout the season. The last couple years I have seen only one doe and that was the only venison I got. You do the math. The bucks disappeared first. My sons are disgusted with hunting now so we don't hunt anymore. Such a shame since I spent a mint on equipment. I thought this was what we boys were going to do together. My mistake.

I believe its all the dumb hunters who shoot young bucks and does.Michigan needs shorter seasons and ALOT less doe tags given out and mandatory QDM being practiced. Opening day i saw ppl shooting FAWNS. If all hunters practiced QDM we would have better and bigger bucks being harvested.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 4, 2009 10:37 AM.

Fish kill: Day 2 bighead found was the previous entry in this blog.

Wisconsin's gun deer hunt goes down: Really down is the next entry in this blog.

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