Michigan’s 2015 firearm deer season ended Nov. 30 and preliminary estimates show that results were mixed.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) harvest estimates indicate that hunters took less deer in the state’s Upper Peninsula and more in the Lower Peninsula.
“We anticipated a poor harvest in the U.P. due to the drastically low deer population throughout much of the U.P. over the past couple of years,” said Ashley Autenrieth, DNR deer program biologist. “However, we’ve seen uncharacteristically high temperatures and low snowfall levels so far this fall, and if this continues, we hope the herd will begin rebounding.”
Compared to 2014, says the DNR, the harvest was up as much as 17% in the Lower Peninsula and down 19% in the U.P.
“Fortunately, the Lower Peninsula hasn’t had a drastic drop in deer numbers over the last few years,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer management specialist. “That, coupled with good wild apple and acorn production over the last two years, has made for good conditions for the deer herds in these areas.”
While harvest numbers were lower in the U.P., the DNR reports that deer registered in the region this year ranged from about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old. Winter effects and predators have contributed to low numbers of younger deer, according to the DNR.