NRC approves antlerless deer license quotas

The Department of Natural Resources will make approximately the same number of public-land antlerless deer licenses available to hunters this fall as last, after the Natural Resources Commission approved antlerless license quotas at its meeting last week in Lansing.

Private-land licenses, however, will decrease by about 25 percent, most significantly in southern Michigan.

The DNR will make 70,550 licenses available for public land, down slightly from last year’s 70,750. A total of 483,400 private-land licenses will be available, down from 637,900 in the 2012 season.

In the northern Lower Peninsula, more antlerless licenses will be available for both public and private land. The DNR will make 35,900 public-land licenses available, up from 30,900 last year, and 119,100 private-land licenses, up from 115,500.

“Recent deer population trends in the northern Lower Peninsula have been increasing due to three previous mild winters,” Rudolph said. “Although this winter had a number of severe storms, the overall impact appears to be mild with the majority of deer observed by staff appearing to be healthy and fit.”

In the Upper Peninsula, 18,800 private-land licenses, down from 21,250 last year, will be available. The quota for public-land licenses has been cut from 5,900 to 4,500.

“An overall decrease in antlerless licenses was recommended in many deer management units (DMUs) in anticipation of increased adult deer mortality and low fawn recruitment due to the prolonged winter,” said DNR deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph.

In the southern Lower Peninsula, quotas for both public land and private land have been reduced. The DNR will make 30,150 licenses available for public land, down from 33,950 last year, and 345,500 private-land licenses, down from 519,650 in 2012.

“Deer populations in many areas are now near goals,” Rudolph said. “This is particularly the case in some areas that have experienced repeated outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) over the last several years.”

Hunters are reminded that many DMUs have changed as a result of changes to local deer populations. Check the 2013 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest for details.