Firearm deer hunting season kicks off on Thursday.
Those at the DNR tell Local Three News that the current weather pattern is helping make for a good hunting season.
“With snow on the ground and these colder temperatures, these are the kind of days that deer are going to move all day long, seeking food and going from area to area,” said Brian Roell, Wildlife Biologist with the Michigan DNR, tells WJMN-TV 3. “I think this is the kind of weather where you want to sit all day rather than just do a morning or evening hunt.”
One thing hunters should keep in mind as they head out is the spreading of CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease. The first detection of CWD in the U.P. came on October 18 this year when it was found in a 4-year old doe on a farm in Dickinson County.
“It’s raised the awareness of the hunting community a great deal,” said John Pepin, Deputy Public Information Officer with the Michigan DNR, tells WJMN-TV 3. “I think we’re going to have a lot more hunters out there wanting to get their deer checked, tested for CWD. We’re glad of that because that’s going to help us produce a statistically viable sample so we can determine how far this infection has spread, if it has spread at all.”
CWD is a fatal central nervous system disease found in deer, moose, and elk. To help improve prevention, the DNR will be conducting tests at weigh stations this season for hunters.
“At most of our check stations we have self-service drop boxes where you can drop off your head and register it and it’ll be tested and the results sent back,” said Pepin. “It takes about 14 days at the most to get a result back. If it does turn out to be CWD positive, you would get a call from the disease lab. Other than that, you can check the website and it continuously lists all of the number of the deer heads that tested negative.”
Should a deer you submit for testing come back CWD positive, the lab will replace your hunting tag. More information on CWD can be found right here.
Visit michigan.gov/deer to find 2018 season information, regulations, videos, chronic wasting disease updates and more.
Check out the 2018 Michigan Deer Hunting Prospects for more on what to expect this deer season.
Hunters contribute $2.3 billion to Michigan’s economy and pay for wildlife conservation and management work throughout the state.
Michigan is one of the top five states nationally in both number of deer hunters and overall deer taken each year. There were 376,365 deer harvested in 2017:
150,709 were antlerless deer, 225,655 were antlered.
51 percent of deer were harvested during the firearm season.
37 percent were harvested during the archery season.
38,262 deer were checked, the highest number of checked deer since 2001.
See the 2017 Deer Season Summary for more 2017 statistics.
Looking for a place to hunt? There are new properties and more acres to hunt through the Hunting Access Program, including properties in Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Newaygo and Mecosta counties. See a complete list of private lands available to hunt at michigan.gov/hap.
Also, you can find information and maps for lands open to public hunting at michigan.gov/mihunt.
Buy deer licenses online, at a license agent or at a DNR Customer Service Center.