Deer Management Units: Regulations and License Limits Up for Debate

Deer regulations are up for discussion at the Natural Resources Commission this month in Onaway. The NRC will be discussing the open/closed status of Deer Management Units (DMU) throughout the state, the regulatory units for issuing antlerless deer licenses on private or public lands.

This year, there are 84 DMU openings recommended for public antlerless deer licenses, all of which would also be open for private land licenses as well. In addition, there are 89 DMUs recommended to be opened for private land licenses. The recommendations by the DNR will affect DMUs in the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula (follow this link for the full proposal).

In the UP, deer populations have continued to increase after experiencing their third mild winter in a row. Four DMUs previous not open for antlerless licenses last year are slated be open for private land antlerless licenses, but will not offer public licenses. These include the Sault Ste Marie, Manistique, Nissula and Amasa/Michigamme units. In addition, two units open strictly to private land licenses last year are recommended to include public licenses this year. These include the Gwinn and Rock units. Finally, three units previously not open for antlerless licenses last year have been recommended to open for both public and private licenses this fall. These include the Drummond Island, Bay De Noc and Round/Bois Blanc Island units. Overall, nine DMUs in the UP have been recommended to open for some form of antlerless license in the fall, increasing access to hunting opportunities.

In the Northern Lower Peninsula, Department data shows that deer populations have also continued to increase due to mild weather over the past winter. The DNR has recommended a total change of 15 DMUs for antlerless license availability. Eleven DMUs are recommended to include public land licenses rather than strictly private land licenses. Four DMUs that were closed to both licenses last year have been recommended to open to include both private and public land licenses. The NRC and the DNR have based these recommendations for both regions upon their most recent information available regarding license purchases and deer populations. Currently, the DNR has set aside 19 DMUs for further review and analysis before issuing any recommendations. The recommendations for these 19 DMUs will be revised on May 21, 2012.

In addition to the availability status of DMUs in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula, antlerless license limits are also up for discussion this month. Previous concerns regarding the overharvesting of deer on private lands led to regulations for license limits in specific DMUs. Most license limits have been established at 5 licenses per day, however, the Department has established that less than 1% of hunters purchase more than 5 licenses in an entire season.

The Department recommends that a season limit of five private antlerless deer hunting licenses per hunter would sufficiently facilitate management needs and act as a preventative measure against the overharvesting of deer.

 

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  • Pumba

    Please include a map and the number of the DMUs that are affected. Your article leaves out those who are not familiar with the names such as Gwinn, Rock, Missula, and Amasa/Michigamme.

  • Anonymous

    The total mis-management of our deer by the DNR is unbelievable! It’s all about money as usual.We have been in some areas recovering from an almost wipedout population of deer to an almost huntable number in the last few years in some areas of the state.Now the DNR want to go back ,as usual,and over harvet our deer population.They are only buying into the demands of the insurance Co.Here in Roscommon Co. we have had 2 out of 4 average winters with the yr.before last one of the worse and longest ever.Not 4 mild winters as they say. I know many of hunters that have given up on deer hunting because of lack of seeing deer. When you can go out 3,4,5, or more days and never even see a deer,it tells me something in management is wronge.I’m 55yrs. old and remember days of 50-100 deer seen in a day,and now lucky to see 10-12 a season. I hunt 14-16 days a year of the firearm season ,so it’s not like I don’t get out and give it a good shot.I saw just over 20 deer this season and that the most in mant many yrs. Our population is just starting to come back to a huntable level and now the DNR want to open doe season and take it back to where it was when we didn’t see deer. I say take “ALL” private land doe tags out and give them to Public land in a reasonable number only where needed. It’s again all about money and the ins.co.demands and nobody will tell me different !!At this rate ,our children and grandchildren will have to look in a book to see what a whitetail looks like that once roamed MI. Wake up and tell the DNR they are WRONGE !

    • Runner0183

      Unless you have actually worked for the DNR or are a wildlife biologist you have no idea what you are talking about. I studied Wildlife Management and think they are doing a great job. Unless you go to the DNR public meetings or are doing your own research, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Badazztonk

        You must live in Iowa, because Michigan has clowns trying to manage it’s deer herd.

      • Ngraverman1

        Well for your info I did work for the DNR for 10 years and your the one thats off base.I also studied wildlife Mang.and the DNRE is NOT doing the right things when it comes to the deer populations in our areas ! So I “DO” have an idea of what I’m talikng about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lincoln-Rohn/1244883849 Lincoln Rohn

    Antler Restrictions, Antlter Restrictions, Antler Restrictions!!! 4 Pts per side period. $25.00 for the first buck tag and $50.00 for the second tag. Also Mandatory Deer Check in online for EVERY Deer harvested. This is the ONLY way to actually know what is being killed in each area. The guessing game they play now does not work. We need to start protecting young bucks and take some pride in what we kill. The Younger generation is the future of deer hunting and this is what they want. IF it were madatory state wide and you knew if you passed a buck that it would be there next year I think we would get 100% support. If a guy wants meat for the freezer he can kill a doe. This is a must for the future of deer hunting Michian!

  • Tunyhuny

    If there has to be a combo tag as stated by law, make it a doe/buck tag. If you shoot a small buck you’re done. You may want to see if you can get a better buck. I know hunters that get one ,actually shoot 2. Myself ,I have’nt seen a buck in 3 years.

  • poseman

    things just keep getting worse. we need to fire alot of people that think they are managing deer herds. gotta be some real asses to set their and say there are lots of anterless deer out there. wont be long untill you see no more deer. then wont be an excuse to own a gun. what the hell. wake up hunters……

  • Uncled

    eliminate half the deer seasons, allow only one (1) buck per season if you get a second deer it should have to be a DOE not a Button Buck. and in some areas a minimum of at least 2 points on one side (3 point or 4 points) may be needed.
    The early special season for kids is counter productive. they will get disappointed when they have to hunt the regular season after seeing so many big bucks that they will end up quiting the sport.

  • Uncled

    DMU 487 covers to much area, there are many areas that don’t have any deer, and you would be hard pressed to find a deer with TB south of the Au Sable River.
    The state has known that there was TB in cows and deer in the state for almost a 100 years and if it hasn’t gotten any worse than it is I think there is a lot of over kill by the DNR. I know, better safe than sorry but let’s be serious, and tell the insurance Companies to bag it.
    The two (2) major causes of car/deer accidents is excessive speed and people that are just not paying attention, not to many deer.

  • mich-fish

    The hunters are the ones responsible for a lot of the problems, not the DNR. The only thing that I see the DNR is doing wrong is allowing a button buck, with visible bone protruding the hair line be considered a “antlerless deer” Hunters are the stewards of the outdoors and should do their best to manage the resources (the DNR just sells tickets). Just because the DNR makes it available for you to buy all those licenses does not mean you have to. Manage our resources wisely.

  • mich-fish

    The hunters are the ones responsible for a lot of the problems, not the DNR. The only thing that I see the DNR is doing wrong is allowing a button buck, with visible bone protruding the hair line be considered a “antlerless deer” Hunters are the stewards of the outdoors and should do their best to manage the resources (the DNR just sells tickets). Just because the DNR makes it available for you to buy all those licenses does not mean you have to. Manage our resources wisely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rugeirn-Drienborough/100003513070607 Rugeirn Drienborough

    In 2010 – the most recent numbers available just now – 418,000 deer were harvested in Michigan. So don’t tell me it’s impossible to hunt deer in Michigan. 418,000 deer disagree with you.

    If you went out hunting, and you didn’t see any deer, could it possibly be that you need to be hunting someplace else?

    Or do you think it’s the DNR’s responsibility to lead the critters past you on a leash?

    Get it together, people. The world, including the DNR, does not owe you a deer. Improve your hunting. Join the hundreds of thousands of successful hunters.

    • Ngraverman1

      Nobody said a word about not being able to hunt deer in MI. It’s that the deer herds are NOT being managed right! I have harvested many deer in MI.very well more than you have and what is being said is the way things are being done are not helping the hunters ,but more of the private land owners that think that the deer are thiers somehow ?? The doe permits that are being issued without number limits to them have to STOP !! As for your stupid statement about hunting somewhere else that’s the whole problem. We shouldn’t have to hunt somewhere else when proper management could take care of the problem.You sound as if your are maybe one of those spoiled private land owner hunters ? ? And your wronge again as usual about the dnr owing us a deer. We as hunters pay for proper management for deer hunters ,so yes they do owe us a huntable amount of deer. So get your facts straight next time before you open your uninformed mouth and make a fool out of yourself again !

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rugeirn-Drienborough/100003513070607 Rugeirn Drienborough

    In 2010 – the most recent numbers available just now – 418,000 deer were harvested in Michigan. So don’t tell me it’s impossible to hunt deer in Michigan. 418,000 deer disagree with you.

    If you went out hunting, and you didn’t see any deer, could it possibly be that you need to be hunting someplace else?

    Or do you think it’s the DNR’s responsibility to lead the critters past you on a leash?

    Get it together, people. The world, including the DNR, does not owe you a deer. Improve your hunting. Join the hundreds of thousands of successful hunters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rugeirn-Drienborough/100003513070607 Rugeirn Drienborough

    I would like to see doe permits be valid over somewhat larger geographic areas. Something the size of the turkey units strikes me as about right.

    In particular, I hunt public lands, mostly in Pinckney and Waterloo state rec areas. A public land deer permit is valid only in one county, but the Pinckney-Waterloo complex extends across Livingston, Washtenaw and Jackson counties. No matter which county’s permit you draw, you’re shut out of hunting about two-thirds of the complex. That makes no sense to me. The geographic area for turkey licenses coves the whole Pinckney/Waterloo area. That is a much more reasonable proposition for a hunter in that region.

  • Badazztonk

    Doe permits should go to areas with the highest car-deer accidents. No accidents, no doe permits.