DNR Reports 2014 Deer Hunting Harvest Down In Michigan
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued a Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report on the 2014 hunting seasons indicating that roughly 615,000 hunters statewide harvested a total of roughly 329,000 deer. The harvest represents a drop of 15 percent from 2013.
“When the number of hunters is reduced in a given year, the deer harvest potential naturally is reduced, too,” Frawley said.
Across all hunting seasons, 84,099 people hunted deer in the U.P. in 2014, down about 19 percent from 2013.
DNR Director Keith Creagh said that like Michigan's deer population, the state’s deer harvest numbers have risen and fallen in an ebb-and-flow pattern since the early 1960s.
"The number of deer harvested hit a low in the early 1970s at below 100,000 statewide," Creagh said. "With mild winters and changing forest conditions, deer populations then rose and hunter harvest climbed to more than 400,000 by the late 1980s."
In northern parts of the U.P., firearm deer hunters who did get to their camps and blinds found the snowy conditions had put many deer on southward seasonal migration paths early. Hunters who altered their strategies to follow those paths fared better.
Despite the challenging conditions, firearm deer hunters in the U.P. harvested 14,734 antlered bucks, with 41,415 taken in the northern Lower Peninsula and 49,110 in the southern Lower Peninsula.
Across all 2014 deer hunting seasons, nearly a fourth of hunters in the western U.P., and 14.6 percent in the eastern U.P., harvested at least one antlered buck. Statewide, the percentage jumped to 26.9 percent.
Statewide, 41 percent of hunters harvested a deer in 2014, compared to 43 percent in 2013. Roughly 11 percent of deer hunters harvested two or more deer of any type. Less than 4 percent of hunters took two antlered bucks.
- To protect more does in the U.P., the Michigan Natural Resources Commission restricted the number of deer management units open to antlerless deer hunting to three areas in the southern part of the region.
- Recently, at the urging of hunters, the NRC decided to remove for this fall the ability of hunters in the U.P. to tag antlerless deer during the archery season with a single or combination deer license.
For the long-term, DNR and hunter efforts continue to improve deer habitat:
- A U.P. Habitat Workgroup reconvened in January, focused on improving and conserving critical winter deer habitat, offering technical assistance and incentives to private landowners.
- A Mississippi State University multiyear study on the role of predators, winter weather and habitat on white-tailed deer fawn survival in the U.P. is continuing, aided by the DNR and Safari Club International.
Although the overall number of license buyers was down from 10 years ago, an increased number of people younger than 14 years old and people older than 50 bought a hunting license last year. Overall, 12 percent of license buyers were younger than 17 years old.
The DNR continues efforts to meet changing hunter demographics by promoting hunting to younger hunters and female hunters, whose numbers are rising.
For more information on the 2014 deer harvest report, visit www.michigan.gov/deer.