LANSING, Mich. – Firearm deer season is entering its first weekend and reviews so far have been mixed across the state.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports that heavy fog is some areas has made hunting difficult. Heavy fog was a problem especially in West Michigan on Tuesday, the day the season opened, and Wednesday.
The DNR says they expected some 500,000 hunters in the woods and fields this week and have provided updates for conditions in four general areas:
Upper Peninsula hunters are seeing more young deer this year after three seasons of declines. Last year’s mild winter is helping deep populations up north after three harsh winters. Deer coming into check stations have been in very good condition.
Hunters in the Northern Lower Peninsula have been impacted by fog and warm temperatures. Numbers of deer harvested is slightly down, but deer being registered have been healthy and some nice bucks have been harvested off public land, according to the DNR. Hunters near or in DMU 487 are requested to submit the heads of their deer at a DNR check station to test for bovine tuberculosis.
Fog has also been an issue in the Southwest Lower Peninsula. The DNR says that hunters appear to be going directly to processors before checking in their deer due to the warm weather. Due to chronic wasting disease (CWD), hunters must register their deer in the Core CWD Area, which is 17 townships in mid-Michigan, covering part of Ionia, Eaton, Ingham and Clinton counties.
Deer numbers in the Southeastern Lower Peninsula are also down, mostly due to the warm weather and many of the corn fields are still up. DNR staff in the region say that numbers were up in the area for bow season.
DNR check stations are located across the state and have varied hours. Find the check station nearest you on the 2016 Deer Check Station Map.
Through Wednesday, Nov. 16, just over 1.2 million deer hunting licenses were purchased from nearly 560,000 deer hunters in Michigan since March, including 107,654 sold Monday, just prior to Tuesday’s opener.
The firearm deer season runs Nov. 15-30.