DNR & Hunters on Firearm Opening Day

The Michigan DNR says nearly 100,000 hunters buy firearm deer licenses for the U.P. each year.

So, now that those licenses can be put to use, what are the hunters finding?

And what may the season as a whole have in store?

ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey has that story.

Ken Packer of Big Bay didn’t only take a buck this morning.

He found some of the female companions the bucks are looking for in the woods.

Ken says he saw five does running around near his deer blind, and then the buck that he ended up bagging came around.

For Tom Petrocik of Negaunee, the pickings at his deer blind were slimmer, but he didn’t leave empty–handed.

Petrocik says the buck he took was the only one he saw all morning.

Their two bucks were numbers 4 and 5 to be checked in at the Marquette DNR field office this morning.

But the weather conditions have quite a bit to do with that.

It was in the mid-to-upper-30s at midday.

If it were around 50, hunters would want to get their deer checked in quickly so that they could then put the venison on ice.

DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell says with the normal and cooler-than-normal temperatures we’re having, hunters are content to just let their bucks hang and aren’t compelled to get back to town as quickly.

The DNR’s annual deer hunting forecast says bucks will be more plentiful in the southern U.P., along the Lake Michigan shoreline, than in the northern U.P. near Lake Superior.

The herd is also expected to be slightly larger this season than last.

Roell says that’s a byproduct of having two winters in a row that were warmer than average.

Tom says he’ll probably go back out to camp this weekend.

Marquette doesn’t have any snow cover, but his camp near Trenary has several inches and he wishes it didn’t.

He says he doesn’t need to have the snow cover to track deer and would rather it warm up and melt the snow.