Michigan's big 16-day deer firearm season, which draws several thousand hunters from Illinois, opens today with mixed prospects.
The video is a rather basic informative one, but good, from Al & Bob's Sports in Grand Rapids, Mich. I loved the line in it how this is not the place to come to buy a tennis outfit.
Back to point, click here for the hunting prospects report from the Michigan DNRE.
I think the opening sentences to the report are worth noting for their universality:
Deer are not evenly distributed across the state. There are considerable differences in habitat and deer numbers across Michigan's three regions; the Upper Peninsula (UP), Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP), and Southern Lower Peninsula (SLP). In addition to this regional variability,every year hunters only a few miles apart have very different experiences observing and harvesting deer. For those looking for a place to hunt, there is no substitute for personally scouting areas in advance of a hunting trip.
Some of that applies to some degree to many things I have heard over the years from deer hunters in many states.
Here are the gist of the prospects from the Michigan DNRE:
Deer populations in both northern regions have come through a mild 2009-2010 winter, but are still recovering from two relatively severe prior winters. All indications point to deer populations being mostly below goal in the UP, at or below goal in the western portion of the NLP, and above goal throughout nearly all of the SLP. Within the eastern portion of the NLP, bovine tuberculosis (TB) prevalence continues to show a declining trend over the long-term, but no detectable change has occurred over the previous five years. Goals and hunting regulations in the eastern NLP are therefore driven more by the objective to continue to reduce TB prevalence than by numbers of deer in this region. In many units within the UP and NLP, indications are that there is an overabundance of deer on private land, but lower than desired populations on public land.
For those who bemoan the financial state of Illinois, I would also note this change in Michigan, where deer hunting is a major societal event:
Hunters should also keep in mind that reductions in funding have forced the DNRE to operate a reduced number of deer check stations with limited dates and times of operation for the past few seasons. For a list of deer check stations operating Nov.15-24 and Nov. 29-30 during the 2010 Regular Deer Firearm Season, please visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.