PSM_V63_D094_Virginia_red_deer_in_the_winterThe DNR released its 2014 Michigan Deer Hunting Forecast yesterday, compiled by DNR biologists Brent Rudolph and Ashley Autenrieth. For the next few days, we’re going to post the regional breakdowns.
Today we look at the Upper Peninsula, which has been hit hard by tough winters the last few years. The summary is that a lot of deer have been killed by a lot of bad weather, so don’t expect to see too many.
We asked George Lindquist to comment on the U.P. forecast from a local perspective. Lindquist, who lives in Marquette County, is a statewide vice president for MUCC, a member of U.P. Whitetails, Inc. of Marquette County, and serves on the DNR’s Upper Peninsula Citizens Advisory Council for the Western U.P.
“For the last two years, you’ve lost most of your age classes,” said Lindquist. “Last year there weren’t many yearlings or fawns, and this year there aren’t many yearlings or fawns. Most people are letting yearlings go around here, but without that we’d be in even bigger trouble. It’s not looking good. Personally, I have to go a long ways to find a track.”
Linquist went on, “There’s just not a lot of deer on the landscape. I don’t know if cutting back on doe tags will help around here, because we haven’t had any doe tags for years. We need to take care of the deer yards and reduce predations.”
Here’s the full excerpt of the DNR’s 2014 Upper Peninsula Deer Hunting Forecast:
The Upper Peninsula (UP) has experienced back to back severe winters over the last two years. This has led to decreased deer numbers throughout the region with losses occurring most notably in this year’s fawns and yearlings. Biologists recommended closing all public land and all but three private land deer management units this year in order to allow deer numbers to rebound over the next three years. The three units currently open for private land antlerless licenses are located in the south central portion of the UP which typically has higher deer populations than anywhere else in the UP. Antlerless permits are available in Deer Management Units: 055 (Menominee), 122 (Norway), and 155 (Gladstone).
The production of mast (fruit and nuts) in the UP has been low throughout much of the region this year. There is some acorn and apple production but it is spotty throughout the region so hunters will need to scout in order to find these areas. Although mast production was low this year there was enough rain and heat to have a productive growing season giving deer many other food sources to seek out.
In general, hunters should expect to see fewer deer, especially in the younger age classes (fawns and yearlings). Always keep in mind that each area is influenced by local factors and conditions that affect deer density and sightings in that area. The largest bucks (heaviest and largest antlers) typically come from agricultural areas, but nice bucks are also taken from forested areas where access is limited and they have an opportunity to get older.
You can read the full 2014 Michigan Deer Hunting Forecast here. Check back tomorrow for a look at the Northern Lower Peninsula Deer Hunting Forecast!

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