Petition seeks to change deer combo license in Upper Peninsula

A veteran Upper Peninsula deer hunter and author has started a petition that seeks to have combination deer licenses for the Upper Peninsula revert back to the way they were before 2008, when hunters were allowed one unrestricted kill tag.

Richard P. Smith of Marquette, well known for his books on white-tailed deer and deer hunting, contends that Michigan’s best option for scientific deer management in the U.P., where harsh winters can kill more deer than hunters will in a year, is to allow hunters to take smaller bucks – if they choose to do so. His petition through seeks to allow hunters who purchase a combination license to take one deer with one antler of at least three inches, as they used to be able to do before 2008, when the license changed. Currently, hunters who purchase a combination license may only take bucks with at least three points on one side of their antlers. If they want to take a second deer, it must have at least four points on one side.

Smith said he hopes to get thousands of hunters to sign the petition and said the majority of U.P. hunters would like to see a return to the unrestricted tag. He also noted that two consecutive winters with severe weather will kill many more deer than hunters could ever hope to in seasons running from September through December. He said biologists estimated that the 2012-2013 winter killed a minimum of 50,000 deer while hunters killed about 34,000 during seasons the same year. He contends some of the deer killed last winter, and will likely be killed after this winter, were bucks that could have been taken by hunters.

“Those bucks that were lost to winter not only will not live long enough to see another birthday and grow another set of antlers, they consumed valuable winter browse before they died, degrading winter habitat for future generations of U.P. deer. It is far better for hunters to remove as many deer from the population as possible during fall hunting seasons to minimize winter losses,” Smith said. “That’s the reality of U.P. deer management.”

Smith makes some good points. If you agree, you’ll find his petition at

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, MicBlogs, Michigan – Tom Pink, Whitetail Deer

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