Antlerless permit increases proposed

By Bill
Parker

Editor

Lansing – The DNR’s Wildlife Division presented the state
Natural Resources Commission with a proposal to increase slightly
the number of antlerless deer permits available to hunters for the
2007 hunting season. The proposal was submitted for information
only at last week’s monthly NRC meeting. The commission could take
action on the proposal at its July 12 meeting in Lansing.

‘We just finalized our (deer) harvest data from 2006 and found
that there was a 9-percent increase in the harvest, statewide, to
about 451,000 animals,’ DNR deer specialist Rod Clute told Michigan
Outdoor News. ‘Although the antlerless harvest was down a little,
the buck harvest was up substantially.’

Clute said the buck harvest was up 16 percent over 2005 in both
the U.P. and southern Lower Peninsula, and up 34 percent in the
northern Lower.

‘I know it’s only one year worth of data, but it’s clear there
are a lot of deer in northern Michigan to produce that sort of
change,’ Clute said.

‘We’re trying to maintain the population about where it’s at in
the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula, and we still
need to reduce the population in the southern Lower Peninsula.’

The DNR is asking the commission to allow it to issue 614,400
antlerless permits statewide in 2007, up from the 592,600 available
in 2006, but still below the 666,800 issued in 2005.

The proposal calls for 45,700 antlerless permits to be available
to hunters in the Upper Peninsula (10,200 public land permits and
35,500 private land permits); 109,500 in the northern Lower (94,600
private and 14,900 public); and 459,200 in the southern Lower
Peninsula (424,300 private and 34,900 public).

‘The bulk of the increase in the northern Lower Peninsula is in
the seven-county TB Zone,’ Clute said. ‘We had in increase in the
(TB) prevalence rate this year. We can’t take any chances that the
disease is increasing. We have to be aggressive.’

No new areas are being recommended to be opened to antlerless
hunting in the northern Lower this year, but in DMUs 05 and 15, the
DNR is recommending no public land permits.

In the Upper Peninsula, the proposal calls for an additional
2,000 permits over the 2006 numbers. Clute said most of them will
be issued in DMUs 21 and 152, which the DNR is recommending to be
open to antlerless hunting on private land.

In southern Michigan, the DNR is asking for an additional 4,400
permits, which will be spread out over much of the area, according
to Clute.

The biggest change in antlerless hunting this fall will be, if
approved, the addition of 12 DMUs that would be open for the late
antlerless hunt in December. Those units include DMU 32 in the
Thumb, DMUs 03, 80, and 14 in southwestern Lower Michigan, and DMUs
25, 47, 33, 78, 23, 19, 29, and 59 in south-central Lower
Michigan.

One other change being proposed is to allow youth hunters
participating in the youth hunt to be allowed to take any deer
– antlered or antlerless – with a firearms license or a combo
license.

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