DNR predicts better UP deer hunt

The Upper Peninsula deer herd appears to have fared well and Michigan Department of Natural Resources field staff anticipates a slightly better hunting season this fall. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo)

MARQUETTE – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released its annual deer hunting preview just ahead of the 2020 seasons, opening with this weekend’s Liberty Hunt for youth and hunters with disabilities.

Overall, conditions are looking excellent for the upcoming seasons, and hunters can expect conditions that meet or exceed 2019, officials said.

Hunters who have seen the 2020 Hunting Digest may have noticed quite a few regulation changes. These changes reflect the evolution of deer hunting in Michigan.

“The last 20 years have resulted in dramatic and sustained declines in hunter numbers,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer and elk program leader. “When combined with an abundant and resilient deer herd that continues to grow, and the added challenge of managing deer diseases, that shifting dynamic required some significant changes.”

The updated regulations take those three factors into consideration and are aimed at giving hunters rules that are easier to understand, improved flexibility in how deer licenses can be used and more value for their time and money, officials said.

Baiting and feeding is again banned in the Core CWD Surveillance Area in portions of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties.

The Upper Peninsula deer herd seemed to fare well last winter, the DNR said.

This, coupled with a good spring and excellent summer growing season, has most areas reporting more deer sightings than last year. Field staff is anticipating a slightly better hunting season.

While soft mast , including berries and apples, appears spotty across the region likely due to late frost in spring, acorns appear to be excellent in those areas with oak trees. Hunters should be on the lookout for oak trees producing acorns and invest time determining if deer have trails near these areas.

During the archery season, which opens Oct. 1, hunters now can take an antlerless deer with either a deer or deer combo license, except in deer management units 027, 031, 036, 042, 066, 127 and 131.


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