HANCOCK — It is clear that the low deer population is still a huge concern for hunters this season. There was fear last season that buck hunting would continue to be poor and it seems that fear is coming true.

State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) held a town hall meeting in Hancock on Saturday to get some feedback from the hunters who have been out in the woods this season. Dianda also invited the commissioners from the Department of Natural Resources to help address some of the issues.

Dianda said, “Well this hunting season the feedback and all the calls I am getting is that the deer numbers are very much down for the last couple cold winters we have had, and then the predators out there. So that’s a big concern to the hunters because we want to pass on the hunting to the next generation in Michigan.”

A new predator has made its way into the number one spot this season in contributing to the deer mortality – the coyotes. The hunters learned at the meeting that the coyotes are very intelligent and are going to be very difficult to eliminate.

Another important topic discussed was the rise of Chronic Wasting Disease being found in the deer.

U.P Regional Wildlife Supervisor Terry Minzey said, “Chronic Wasting Disease is a really insidious disease. It’s an always fatal neurological disease. It can be transferred through saliva, blood, feces. Unfortunately, it’s in within 30 miles of the border of the U.P. down in Wisconsin. We want to keep that disease out of the U.P. if we can. So we just wanted people to be educated a little bit on the disease and have an understanding for what might be coming our way.”

Dianda also encouraged the younger generations to become involved in hunting and fishing activities to keep the tradition going.
Overall the meeting was very positive and many ideas were shared for hunting season next year.

“We are going to have a discussion,” Dianda added. “The commissioners are here. I think they are going to have a little feedback over these next couple of town hall meetings, and it will help for them to understand what we see up here and maybe what the hunter want to see.”

“This was a really good opportunity. I think they appreciated the fact that we were here. They provided us with some thoughts and some ideas to consider, in terms of things such as buck regulation and things the Natural Resources Commission will think about. I thought it was a really good meeting,” said Minzey.