DNR: U.P. deer herd lowest in four decades

DNR: U.P. deer herd lowest in four decades

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula deer herd has reached its lowest levels in over 40 years, according to DNR wildlife biologists. As the U.P. could face another bad winter, ABC 10 continues its look at what’s being done to increase the U.P. deer herd.

That effort involves wildlife groups and others assisting the DNR on numerous grant–funded projects to increase food and habitat along the U.P. winter migration trails. ABC 10 news director Greg Peterson spoke with DNR wildlife biologists Craig Albright and Dusty Arsnoe for the episode of In Focus that will air this Sunday at noon.

“If you want to talk population size, I think we are probably back where we were in maybe the early 1970s,” Albright said. “It’s pretty low right now.”

Peterson asked, “Explain the ’70s. What was going on then?”

“In the 1970s, our forests had recovered from the first wave of logging that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s,” Albright said. “We basically had a wave of white pine and red pine logging and then it moved on to the hardwood forests.

The U.P. had fairly good deer populations through the 40s and 50s, but then we hit around 1970, the second growth forest had matured to the point the forest was pretty shady. There wasn’t a lot of logging going on.

We didn’t have a lot of paper mills online. The mechanics of logging were in its infancy. There was just a piece cutter with a chain saw and it couldn’t cut much.” That’s when “the deer populations reached their lowest levels and we had very bad winters in the 1970s.”

You can watch more of the interview on In Focus with Greg Peterson this Sunday at noon on ABC 10.