Farmers can hunt with firearms throughout the fall to help reduce the deer population in select counties, thanks to new Michigan hunting rules.
People in five northern Michigan counties will be allowed to harvest antlerless deer with firearms this fall regardless of which state mandated season it is. The DNR has decided to make this change due to pressure from farmers in northern Michigan.
Michigan has experienced an uptick in the deer population in Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Antrim, and Charlevoix counties during the last few years. Farmers have been reporting increased damage to crops and fruit trees as well.
Thoses who hope to reduce the deer population using these new laws need to have tried to reduce the population in previous years using archery tackle. The DNR has mandated that farmers show that archery was not an effective management tool for them in order to be allowed to hunt with firearms during the other seasons.
Farmers also blame new Quality Deer Management rules that restrict hunters from harvesting bucks with less than three points on an antler for the uptick in damage to fruit bearing trees. Farmers may be allowed to take antlered deer if approval from the DNR is received under this new program.
Ryan Ratajczak, the president of Northwest Michigan Quality Deer Management Association stated in a Record-eagle.com article that “We feel there were already enough means necessary out there to control the population, mainly through hunters themselves being able to utilize antlerless licenses. My concern is that they’re actually following the rules and the DNR is following up on this program.” Ratajczak and his organization is fearful that the new program may reduce deer numbers too drastically and hurt the longevity of the population.
Firearm use will be prohibited from Oct. 1-4 and Nov. 10-14 regardless of the new program.
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What are your thoughts on the new management strategy from Michigan DNR? Do you think it will be too effective?