The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proposing to expand antler point restrictions (APR) to a tuberculosis management area.
But it seems that hunters in Michigan want APRs expanded even further.
"A majority of Michigan deer hunters want a better deer hunting experience, better bucks, a better balance and healthier deer. You are sitting in a position to change the landscape of this state's deer hunting even better for generations to come," says Lincoln Rohn, who started the Facebook group Michigan Deer Hunters--Let em go and let em Grow! "Old, outdated management practices need to be replaced with new practices that we know work and have (much) data supporting."
The basis for the sentiment comes from the efforts of an area of the state known as the Northwest 12. These counties (Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Osceola, Lake and Mason) have the strictest APRs in the state.
The group worked with the DNR on public meetings and surveys find that 68.5% of hunters in the area wanted stricter requirements.
Stricter APRs started in the area on a trial basis in 2013 for five years. The APRs in the area state that hunters can only take a buck with at least three points on one side, or four on one side with a restricted combo tag.
A recent survey of hunters found that 76% approved of the requirements. The reason: Bucks with bigger racks and bigger bodies.
At a recent Michigan Natural Resources Commission Meeting, 50 hunters from several organizations spoke in favor of APRs.
The DNR's proposal is to expand APRs in tuberculosis management area DMU 487, which the counties of Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle.
"We have to balance what hunters want and the disease concerns we have in the state, particularly chronic wasting disease," says DNR deer and elk specialist Chad Stewart. "Our attempt to seeing if these things can work together is our proposal for 487."
Stewart says the option remains open for the rest of the state and could be implemented at any time.
The NRC will vote on the proposal in June.