MARQUETTE — Final numbers from the disappointing firearm deer season in the Upper Peninsula are beginning to come out.

The DNR field office in Escanaba says hunters checked in 462 deer there during firearm season, which ended Sunday night. That’s down by 19% from last year and down 33% from the ten-year average.

However, totals for most of the region won’t be in for some time.

“But we definitely have preliminary numbers that show us the deer harvest in the U.P. is down maybe 40% to 50% U.P.-wide,” DNR deputy public information officer Debbie Munson Badini said. “We’re down about 50% to 60% here in Marquette. It’s pretty much what we expected.”

For the last several years, there have been fewer deer in the woods to begin with because of the severity of the winters. Deer have been moving to their winter range early and hunters are normally waiting for them on the deer’s summer range.

“According to the National Weather Service, the snowfall in November this year is record-setting,” Munson Badini said. “There’s never been more snowfall in Marquette County this early in the year, so that can help to explain why people may have had difficulty getting to their camps, (and) also why the deer would have been migrating early.”

Deer can still be checked in, as a successful hunter was doing in Marquette this morning.

Archery season is still in progress and ends on New Year’s Day. Muzzleloader season for the U.P. begins on Friday and lasts through December 14th.

Staff from the DNR’s Wildlife Division will be meeting with local sportsmen’s groups at 6:00 tomorrow night at the Marquette DNR field office and at 6:00 Thursday night at the Great Lakes Sports & Recreation Club in Escanaba. Representatives from sportsmen’s and wildlife organizations will gather to provide activity updates and discuss current wildlife management topics. The meetings of what the DNR calls its Sportsmen’s Coalitions are also open to the public.