Deer Numbers Down, but Still Average

The start of December means Michigan firearm deer season is in the books for 2008.

If you had trouble bagging a buck this year, you weren’t alone.

Predictions for this season had U.P. deer sightings down by about 10% across the U.P., and it looks like that’s going to come to pass.

The Marquette DNR office has checked in about as many deer this year as it usually does.

The numbers are actually slightly above their year-to-year average from the last decade.

But compared to a super-strong 2007 season, there’s a sharp dropoff.

DNR wildlife biologist Terry McFadden says they’ve checked in 27% fewer deer in Marquette this year than last.

McFadden also says deer that have been checked in aren’t as robust in the past, with lackluster antler development.

He blames long-lasting stress on the animals left over from last winter for that because it shortens the summer growing season.

Last winter was the roughest one on the U.P. deer herd in more than a decade.

The deer get stressed when the snow lasts as long as it did last year, which means they produce fewer fawns than usual.