Weigh in on Deer Proposal for Northwest MI

Public Educational Meetings for Proposed Expansion of Antler Restrictions to 12 Northwest Michigan Counties

Public informational meetings will be presented beginning tonight and throughout the spring/summer by the Northwest Michigan Quality Deer Management Association (NW MI QDMA), regarding the proposed expansion of the DMU 045 Leelanau County Antler Point Restriction(3pt restriction per one side, 4pt restriction per one side, under the current combo tag) to the larger region. The 12 proposed counties are Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Osceola, and Wexford.

While MUCC has no official policy on mandatory antler point restrictions (APR), we want to make our members and the public aware of this opportunity to get more information.

As you might recall, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) decided to lift the 5-year moratorium on local antler point restriction proposals  last year. Under guidelines adopted by the NRC, mandatory regulations proposed by sponsoring organizations (NW MI QDMA) will only be implemented where a clear majority of 66 percent support among hunters in the proposed area is documented. Support will be determined by a survey mailed to a sample of hunters who indicated on the 2011 DNR deer harvest survey that they hunted deer in one of the 12 counties. Surveys will be mailed starting in August.

If the survey achieve s the minimum 66% hunter support, the APR will go into effect for the 2013 season. After a five-year trial period, a follow-up survey will be completed to determine if the restriction stays in effect. Antlerless deer regulations within the proposed area would continue to be determined by the Natural Resources Commission based on recommendations by DNR Wildlife Division staff.

If you have questions regarding the proposal, get your questions answered at one of the public meeting (see below) or check out the website for more information.  You can also contact NW MI QDMA at 231-590-7287.

Public Meetings (last updated 4/26/2012, visit this website to confirm locations/time):

  • April 26th, 7:00 p.m.
    Benzie Central High School, Auditorium, 9300 Homestead Rd., Benzonia, MI.
  • May 17th, 7:00 p.m.
    Kalkaska Kaliseum, Multi Purpose Room, 1900 Fairground Rd. N.W., Kalkaska, MI.
  • May 24th, 7:00 p.m.
    Cadillac Junior High, Cafeteria, 500 Chestnut St., Cadillac, MI.
  • May 31st, 7:00 p.m.
    Manistee High School, Commons, 525 12th St., Manistee, MI.
  • June 21st, 7:00 p.m.
    Mason County Eastern Middle/High School, 18 S. Main St., Custer, MI.
  • East Jordan Meeting – pending
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  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.schardt Carl Schardt

    I don’t hunt for the rack, they are hard to eat.

  • dan

    Sounds like a great idea! People who want meat can eat does!

    • JimS

      Zero public land antlerless permits available in the proposed 12 counties last year. Easy to say, “just shoot a doe” but for the public land firearms hunter, it’s not an available option. These regulations would make 85% of the deer in the woods off limits to those public land hunters.

      • Mcnitt276

        full inclusion of crossbows with bait. If you don’t like the fact that the DNR give bowhunters a choice of antlered or antlerless, then change that. The APR goal is to improve age class….we don’t control how many doe tags are issued.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OW55U4JHAZQDIDAFAGLE7FHS6U Angela S

    Not when there are no doe permits!

    • Ryan

      For those of us who bowhunt our combo tags are good for two antlerless deer. A viable option when choosing to pass up a young buck and still wanting to put venison in the freezer.

    • dan

      You can still take a doe with a bow with a combo or antlerless tag during archery season. A combo tag can not be used on a doe during firearm.

  • JimS

    The Wildlife Division of the DNR has stated that there is no biological benefit resulting from antler restrictions in Michigan. There is however a potentialy negative biological impact resulting from changing the buck age structure. Older male deer have a significantly greater prevalence of both Bovine Tuberculosis and CWD and yearling bucks, the ones protected by these APR’s, have the greatest potential for spreading communicable disease. If MUCC truly has the interest of the resource at heart, they should be opposing changes to the herd structure that could potentially put the resource at increased risk, should infectious diseases be introduced into other parts of Michigan.

  • Ryan

    Leelanau County has had these same exact regulations in effect for 8 seasons whereby protecting a majority of yearling bucks and increasing the harvest of 3.5+yr olds. To date there has been no ill effect of these regulations on the deer herd and in turn has shown an increase in the hunter satisfaction rate within this county. If MUCC really has the interest of the resource at heart they should support efforts to create well balanced deer herds held at or below the carrying capacity of the habitat similar to the one found in DMU045.

  • JimS

    Ryan – You claim that these regulations contribute to a well balanced deer herd that is at or below carrying capacity. Your literature also indicates that there has been an increase in the total number of bucks harvested under APR’s and DNR data shows a decrease in the number of antlerless deer harvested during the APR period. Harvesting greater numbers of antlered bucks and fewer does, cannot help balance sex ratio’s, unless the population increases at the same time, which would negate any claim that the herd has not increased in size. If the same number of hunters are shooting more bucks and fewer does, sex ratios are not going to be balanced. Maybe you would like to explain that inconsistency?

    • Mcnitt276

      Doe harvest can take place in many forms other than just by antlerless tags. I suspect more antlerless deer are being harvested with archery equipment since the restriction. I know many fellow bowhunters now who will harvest a doe if they don’t get a chance at a good buck, myself included. Archery, crossbows, baiting, Dmaps, crop damage, tribal seasons etc. all account for antlerless harvest not reflected just on antlerless permit numbers issued. When you say antlerless harvest has declined, if I remember correctly doe tags have fluctuated between 200-300 for several years now, a fairly constant number of antlerless tags issued. DNR numbers show hunter success staying about the same post anlter restrictions as prior. Anyway, we have had all this conversation before, bottom line 72% + of Leelanau hunters/landowners voted in favor of keeping the restriction after the five year trial period for obvious reasons.

      • JimS

        Using the “cherry picked” period of data that is being used to promote this initiative, antlerless harvest has fallen by 20% under the APR’s, while antlered buck harvest has increased by 15% during that time period, compared to a pre-APR baseline average. That would certainly dispute the claim that the sponsoring organization is making, that the herd is becoming more balanced as a result of the APR regulations. If you are going to use statistics to sell the APR’s, then it’s somewhat disingenuous to just ignore the ones that you don’t like. The sponsoring organization has made the claim that these APR’s will contribute to a balanced herd and keep herd numbers low, both of which appear to be demonstrably false, based on available data.

        • Mcnitt276

          No cherry picking needed. We have shown kill data pre mars 2002 thru 2008(leelanau compared to benzie) at all of our public meetings. 2009-2011 percentages are similar or better. The only reason our flyer showed percentages from 2006-2010, was because these were the years that we had kill data for the other proposed 12 counties. Use any years data you would like after initial implementation buck age class has increased dramatically. Anyone who hunts 045 knows the results. Do you honestly believe 72% of hunters would support the program if it did not have the desired effect. If you need the last word go ahead munster…but we stand behind our data….

          • JimS

            Cherry picked, indeed. If you don’t have the kill data from the other surrounding counties during all of the year of the APR period, you didn’t look very hard, as it’s readily available, to anyone who wants to find it. You intentionally didn’t use the first three years of Leelanau data and I believe you also didn’t use the 2010 data, claiming there was not a large enough sample. Arbitrary statistics anyone?

            You still have not explained how killing greater numbers of antlered bucks every year and fewer does, can result in balanced sex ratios, as you claim the APR’s in Leelanau Co. are doing. Are you conceding that your literature is misleading in that regard?

          • Mcnitt276

            I guess 72%+ of 045 hunters must be mistaken. As I stated before we used comparative data from 2006-2010 on our brochure, and our meeting handouts have
            2002-2008 data comparision from benzie vs. leelanau. If you want 2011 data used, they show a higher percentage of 3.5+ year olds. Use any years you want. The age class of bucks has dramatically increased in comparison to any other counties. Moving 2x as many yearling bucks to the next age class after antler restrictions, and you don’t beleive that has had any improvement on ratio. Anyone who has hunted,shined, looked for deer in 045 can see it. Pick any numbers you want to. You can even put 2002, 2003(first two years) numbers in if wish they still show a dramatic increase in age class. I’m done with this discussion. I am in agreement with the other 72% majority.

          • JimS

            If you are killing greater numbers of antlered bucks every year than prior to APR’s, as you claim to be the case, it does not matter how many yearlings get passed to the next age class, there is still going to be a net reduction in the number of antlered bucks in the herd. If fewer does are also harvested, as has occurred in Leelanau Co. during the APR period, then the buck to doe ratio is going to grow further out of balance, not the opposite, as you claim is occurring.

            MUCC states that it is their duty to insure that outdoor activities are not portrayed in a false manner, your claim regarding APR’s in Leelanau Co. balancing sex ratios is the perfect example of a false claim that is thrown out there for PR purposes, that fails to stand up to scrutiny. : (

          • Mcnitt276

            getting thin, we never stated more bucks every year than prior. we stated hunter success remaining fairly constant you have the numbers same numbers we have distributed since the APR went into effect to every one at all meetings. The numbers stand…

          • gvon

            NOT 72%, 72% of respondents to a limeted survey. Not a scientific poll of all hunters…

  • JimS

    Just because there has been no negative impact seen in Leelanau Co. under the APR’s does not mean anything, since neither CWD or bTB is present in Leelanau Co. at this time. But by altering the age structure for a short term gain (bigger antlers) we are setting the stage for a substantially greater negative impact, should either of those communicable diseases come to NW Michigan in the future. bTB has previously been found in 4 of the 12 counties which would be covered by these regulations. Responsible sportsman put the health of the resource first and foremost and the desires of hunters secondly. CWD was just found for the first time in Northern Wisconsin. Dr. James Kroll, the Wisconsin Deer Czar, is recommending an aggressive harvest designed to keep the age structure of the herd young, the opposite of what the impact of APR’s will be on the resource in NW Michigan, should these regulations pass.

  • JimS

    The literature being used to promote these regulations claims that the public land hunter will benefit most of all. What it does not mention is the impact that they will have on public land firearms hunters. In the proposed 12 county area last year, there were zero public land antlerless permits available. That’s right Zero! That means that under these regulations, 85% of the deer in the woods will be off limits to firearms hunters. It’s understandable how APR’s may be a boon to private land trophy bow hunters but for the public land “Joe Lunchbucket” firearms deer hunter? Not so much…..

  • JimS

    There is a great story in this months issue of Quality Whitetails, the official QDMA magazine, called “Mark’s first deer”. The author details the story of how his 26 year old son was introduced to deer hunting and described the harvest of his first deer a 3 pt. yearling buck. The author also noted that his own first deer had been a fork horn buck. While well told, the story is not particularly unusual in that it’s similar to how many deer hunters started their deer hunting quest. What was encouraging is that the harvest took place on a QDM managed property and yet all involved were happy for the neophyte hunters success. The property owner left the decision about which deer to harvest up to the individual hunter, which is as it should be.

    What is discouraging is that the current proposed antler initiative would have prevented that story from ever happening. It’s unfortunate that novice firearms hunters, both youth and adult alike, will potentially have to forfeit the opportunity to harvest their first deer, if the deer that presents an opportunity happens to have inappropriate headgear. But I guess that some of those novice hunters who will be forced to go home empty handed, if these regulations are implemented, should take solace in the fact that when some bowhunter bags that buck the following October, it will have 20″ of additional bone on it’s head. I’m sure that will be some consolation……..

  • Gouldk

    Before you sing on the these antler point restriction mandate, think about what 1/2 or 2/3 of the yonger buck genetics you are protecting to pass on gentics in your herd. The poorest gentics are saved as breeders. Rest assured, your genetic potential for anlter point devleopment within the gentic pool will declin significantly over time as you “SHOOT THE BEST AND LEAVE THE REST” I recommnet you do the opposite and cull the poor gentics of all age classes in the buck population anb do it on a voluntary basis that educates and promotes the improvemnt of the genic poo.l Ths approach makes the hunting experience more enjoyable and still allow younger hunter to havest those first bucks and have success.
    QDMA is really about money and hunters can do this without the QDMA umbrella. I wish MUCC would ge on board promiting a voluntary program that protecteed the better 1/2 of yearling bucks an allows for culling to occur. In this case, hunter groups and landowner cooperating could promote the right gentic selction and managment tools for a specific part of MI. QDMA has long “cherry picked” the data for their own beneift. I lived throught his process hunting over 800 acres in DMO 018 in Clare county from 1999-2003 in the first “test” antler point restriction area. Hunters and landowners both voted it down after the five year trial period because it was completely backwards. I anyone had a genetics background they could educate QDMA abou the flaw in their plan.
    My $.02
    Kevin Gould, MM Sportsmans Alliance member and Beef Cattle Producer

    • Mcnitt276

      Protecting 50% + of yearling bucks with a 3 point antler restriciton will not result in high grading a herd. Studies would indicate that the majority of bucks do not reach true potential until age 5. Recent texas studies have shown many spike horn yearling bucks will actually exceed larger antlered yearling bucks at older ages. There are many reasons some bucks have smaller antlers than others at yearling ages. As long as we continue to kill over 60% + of yearling bucks the true potential of most whitetail deer will never be known. 045 hunters/landowners renewed their 5 year followup survey by 72%+. What we do now is backwards…other states that are protecting yearling bucks with antler restrictions are Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missipppi, Minnesota, Texas, It is not normal to kill 60%+ some counties 80%+ of yearling bucks…If you think a 3 point restriction will result in high grading in northern michigan, what about the 3″ restriction we currently have. Other intense culling studies completed on King ranch in Texas have shown no significant differences in antler development in comparison with non culled controll groups. 1/2 of genetics come from antlerless deer, culling, high grading, etc.. are poor excuses not to implement an antler restriction to increase buck age class. As per disease in older age class animals, we are talking about a balanced herd, not a geriatric herd. As with any disease overpopulation, poor habitat, etc..are primary factors leading to disease. Balance deer herds in age class, and ratio within population goals are healthy deer herds.

      The only reason to not support this proposal, is if you can’t stand the thought of not killing every spike horn or four point you see.

  • Bpinffam

    You big babies! Quit hiding behind youth killing their first buck! A doe is just as a worthy trophy as a spike or fork horn-you just teach your kids the opposite, probably because those yearlings are what you desire to kill too, over your bait of course! Certainly some areas of Michigan deserve experimenting how the herd is managed! Could it be better managed for a healthier herd if the management tool (deer harvest) resulted in a 1 to 1 sex ratio? How about a herd that resulted in bucks of ages 1.5 to 5.5 rather than our current herd of predominately 1.5 to 2.5 year olds? Man up! Praise your kids for shooting a doe & for helping to manage the deer herd in a healthy manner.

    • JimS

      Nobody is saying a doe is not a worthy trophy but the fact is that shooting a doe is not an option for public land firearms hunters, there are no antlerless permits available in these twelve counties. As far as helping to manage the herd in a healthy manner, under APR’s in Leelanau County, greater numbers of bucks and fewer numbers of antlerless deer are being harvested annually, than prior to the APR’s being put in place, which CANNOT result in a 1:1 sex ratio, it will create sex ratio’s that are even more unbalanced …but that’s a dirty little secret that the APR guys don’t want to talk about. ; )

  • Mhwooden

    I think that this makes it harder for the young hunters and will make them think twice about hunting at all. Also if you are walking through the woods and you jump a buck do you really have time to stop and count, I think not. Leave it up to the person don’t make it a law.
    I pass up a lot of small bucks, and I hunt in an area without a lot of pressure but seldem see anything but small bucks.

    • Mcnitt276

      Our youth hunters are killing the best bucks of their lives. After a year or two of antler restrictions there are plenty of legal bucks to go around. Hunter success has remained constant, and the deer harvested are just older in age class. This restriction will have as much benefit for the public land hunter as the private land owner.

  • gvon

    I Dont believe you are not taking a position. All of the website links are for a sponsor of this issue! Where is the other side, or a link to enter a public comment with NRC?

  • Anonymous

    I would like to comment on this even though I don’t hunt the proposed areas. My family has a small area of farmland/woods in Iosco county (160 acres) and for years we would shoot one maybe two small bucks a year (scruffy spikes or 3 points). about 10-12 years ago I talked my brother into a small restriction, 4 points or better. We have followed that religiously and the last two years 3 hunters shot 3 8points and 2 4points. I didn’t shoot last year but I let at least 5 bucks go. Several of those would have been OK to shoot but I personally dont shoot anything that doesn’t have 4 points on one at least one side. I have heard the arguments on both sides and can only say that from my experience a reasonable restriction CAN be a benefit to all hunters. The people who own the property around us didn’t follow any restriction and have benifited so I can only wonder what could happen if more people showed restraint. I argee that it is hard to let a buck go when you have never harvested one but it is called deer hunting not deer killing so lets teach our next generation to hunt wisely and that it is acceptable to harvest a doe to balance the herd. I agree that you can’t eat the horns so if its venison that you want take a doe. As far as the diseases the older does carry them just as much so letting the doe herd go unchecked is just as bad as allowing the bucks to grow older before being harvested. To those who have never watched a young buck and then let it go it can be very satisfying. I look at the little bucks, say bang, and tell everyone I had a successful hunt. Good luck this fall to everyone and lets keep an open mind.

    • JimS

      You are simply incorrect about older does having the same disease prevalence as bucks, either younger or older. There is ample scientific data available that shows that yearling bucks have twice the prevalence rate as older does and mature bucks up to four times the prevalence rate as does, for Bovine tuberculosis. The same thing is true for CWD. A herd with an older buck age structure has significantly greater potential for spreading disease and is much more likely to be significantly impacted, should disease be found, than a herd with a younger age structure. bTB has been found in 4 of the 12 counties that would be impacted by these proposed regulations.

  • Robert mcclish

    If you want more and bigger bucks stop killing the second buck and all the mature does. They are the ones who have the ones who birth the larger and more healthy offspring

  • Chuck

    Where I hunt (Wexford County) you have a hard time seeing any bucks at all with out puting a point restriction on. Let the hunter make the decsion.

    • Mcnitt276

      a couple years of antler restrictions and legal bucks will outnumber sublegal bucks. I have hunted wexford county my whole life, this antler restriction will work anywhere. You can kill the same number of bucks at older age classes.

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

    Its common sense. Lets see. We can use all modern archery, crossbows, magnum rifles, muzzle loaders that shoot 200 yards, range finders and trail cameras. killing a deer is not hard these days. Lets stop killing young bucks and give them a year or 2 to grow. Start taking pride in what we harvest. You argue that young or new hunters wont be able to harvest a buck if we put antler restrictions in place. That is crazy! With antler restrictions, they will be able to harvest a 8 point instead of a small spike or 4 point. If you say antler size does not matter your lying. Don’t tell me you would be way more pumped if you killed an 8 point then if you killed a spike. We all dream about an big buck coming down through the swamp and harvesting him, We don’t dream of a big ol spike horn. Come guys!! QDM works and its proven and there is scientific data to back it up. We manage 160 acres and pass all 1 1/2 year old bucks. Our average buck has increased by at least 80%. With kids growing up with the Outdoor channel and drury videos they want to kill quality bucks. Both of my boys have a total buy in on QDM. They are helping plant food plots, fill the feeders and harvest does. They feel like they are managing our resource, not just out to get “their buck”. Believe me, after one year of point restrictions NOBODY will be complaining, Period. We will have just as many 2 year olds after the first year as we have 1 year olds now.

  • Mhwooden

    All well and good to shot a doe but not all area have doe permits. Were I live there have been no doe permits for years. I have no young children and I don’t shot the little bucks but I still think that it the young hunter doesn’t get the chance at a buck even if it is a little one they may not be back next year. I personally don’t have any young children and I don’t shoot young bucks which means I don’t shoot many dear. But I surely think others should have a chance and stop this trophy mantality some seem to have.

  • GG Van Gelder

    I support the suggested QDM issue, we will then achive more
    older bucks with larger racks, save the spikes and fork horns.
    GG Van Gelder, Kalamazoo & Manistee.

  • Jeffyngary

    I think this is a fabulous idea. I live in Eaton County on the Thornapple river and we could sure use that in Southern Michigan too!!