DNR seeks reduction in antlerless licenses

Lansing — The number of antlerless deer licenses available for the 2013 season would be trimmed by 21 percent under a proposal being considered by the state Natural Resources Commission. The commission is expected to vote on the antlerless license allocation at its July 11 meeting in Lansing.

Under the DNR’s proposal, a total of 556,850 public land and private land antlerless permits would be available this fall, a decrease of 151,800 licenses from 2012.
The recommendation calls for a statewide total of 69,850 public-land antlerless deer licenses and 487,000 private-land antlerless licenses

“The biggest decreases overall are in southern Michigan where we’re shifting away from the large deer management unit (DMU 486) to smaller management units,” Brent Rudolph, the DNR’s deer and elk program leader, told Michigan Outdoor News. “A couple DMUs in southern Michigan may sell out of antlerless permits, but I don’t think it will be a widespread phenomenon.”

One of those deer management units that could sell out is the newly created DMU 311, which includes Berrien, Van Buren, and Cass counties.

“Those counties have had multiple outbreaks of EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) the last few years, so we made conservative recommendations there,” Rudolph said.

Years of an effective deer-reduction strategy in southern Michigan coupled with several years with multiple outbreaks of EHD in parts of southern Michigan have resulted in reduced deer numbers that are at or near the population goals for the region. Therefore, the DNR has proposed a substantial reduction in doe permits in southern Michigan.

The proposal recommends 345,500 private-land antlerless permits for southern Michigan, down from 519,650 in 2012, and 30,150 public-land antlerless permits, down from 33,950 in 2012.

“Recommendations for southern Michigan include a decrease of 174,150 private-land antlerless licenses in order to adjust management efforts to deer densities that are no longer substantially above goal throughout this region,” the DNR wrote in a memo to the commission.

Northern Lower

Three mild winters in a row has resulted in a slightly higher deer population in the northern Lower Peninsula. The proposal calls for 35,200 public-land antlerless permits in the northern L.P., which is up from 30,900 in 2012, and 122,700 permits for private land, up from 97,000 in 2012.

“Increased harvest rates, crop-damage complaints, and staff sightings over the last three years have led staff to recommend increased antlerless quotas throughout much of the NLP, but specifically in the northwest, where quotas have remained conservative for a number of years,” the DNR wrote.

Proposed changes for the northern Lower for 2013 include opening both public- and private-land antlerless quotas on Bois Blanc Island (DMU 149);  opening public-land antlerless quotas for Lake (DMU 043) and Manistee (DMU 051) counties; opening public land and increasing private-land antlerless quotas in Antrim (DMU 005), Benzie (DMU 010), Charlevoix (DMU 015), Emmet (DMU 024), Grand Traverse (DMU 028), Kalkaska (DMU 040), Leelanau (DMU 045), and Osceola (DMU 067) counties;  increasing public and private land quotas in Cheboygan (016), Mason (DMU 053), Otsego (069), and Wexford (DMU 083) counties; increasing the private-land antlerless quota in Roscommon County (DMU 072); increasing the public-land antlerless quota in Alcona County (DMU 001 ); and establishing new private-land antlerless quotas of 11,000 for Isabella County (DMU 037) and 7,500 for Midland County (DMU 056).
All 12 counties in the northwestern Lower Peninsula that recently were put under mandatory antler restrictions will see a slight increase in antlerless permits this year.

“The deer population continues to grow through those counties, and we expect that with the new regulations the buck harvest will drop this year,” Rudolph said. “So looking at everything, we thought we could have an increase there.”

Upper Peninsula

According to the DNR, the deer population in the Upper Peninsula has increased slowly during the past three years due to relatively mild winters. Conditions were mild early last winter, but increased in severity in midwinter and lasted through late April.

The DNR recommended an overall decrease of 2,450 private-land and 1,400 public-land antlerless licenses across the U.P. The proposal calls for closing the Nissula (DMU 031), Amasa/Michigamme (DMU 036), Drummond Island (DMU 117), Gwinn (DMU 152), and Rock (DMU 252) units to private/public-land antlerless harvest; decreasing the public-land antlerless quota for Menominee County (DMU 055) and the Gladstone Unit (DMU 155); decreasing the private-land antlerless quota for the Crystal Falls Unit (DMU 022); and decreasing the private/public-land antlerless quota for the LaBranche Unit (DMU 255).

These recommendations would decrease the private-land quota for the region to 18,800, down from 21,250 in 2012, and the public-land quota to 4,500, down from 5,900 in 2012.

Categories: Hunting News, Hunting Top Story, Social Media, Whitetail Deer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *