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For many years, the DNR has provided a forecast of the upcoming deer seasons.
In the2018 Michigan Deer Hunting Prospects report, the DNR anticipates a successful year for many deer hunters, with indicators showing deer numbers to be up over last year.
Biologists are expecting the number of deer taken to increase slightly from last year’s numbers, which were up more than 10 percent from the previous year across the state.
The Upper Peninsula appears to be rebounding well from the harsh winters observed in 2013 and 2014. Deer numbers are increasing across the entire peninsula and harvest numbers increased over fifty percent across the region in 2017. With recovery under way some units will be offering an increase in antlerless opportunities including one unit that was opened to public land antlerless licenses.
Increased antlerless licenses this year are available in the following Deer Management Units: 055 (Menominee), 121 (Bay de Noc), 155 (Gladstone) and 255 (LaBranche). Deer Management Unit 122 (Norway) is now open on public land and had an increase in the number of private land antlerless licenses.
The increases are in the south-central portion of the UP which typically has higher deer populations than anywhere else in the UP. All other areas in the UP will continue to not have antlerless licenses available
Continuing for 2018: Since much of the UP still hopes to see deer numbers increase over the next several years the decision was made to continue to no longer allow the harvest of antlerless deer with either the single deer license or a combination deer license during the archery season.
Archery hunters may only harvest antlerless deer if they have an Sept. 2018 3 antlerless license. This change does not affect the Liberty or Independence Hunt and does not impact Mentored Youth. In general, hunters should expect to see about the same number of deer they saw last year Always keep in mind that each area is influenced by local factors and conditions that affect deer density and sightings in that area. The largest bucks (heaviest and largest antlers) typically come from agricultural areas, but nice bucks are also taken from forested areas where access is limited, and they have an opportunity to get older.
For information on chronic wasting disease, visit michigan.gov/cwd.