The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently finalized its 2017 Michigan Deer Hunting Forecast report, which contains information about deer hunting across Michigan.
Archery deer hunting season began Oct. 1, and firearm deer season begins Nov. 15.
Winter 2016 was relatively mild across the state. Low snowfall levels and above-average temperatures made for good deer survival conditions and great potential for this year’s fawns. Spring had relatively mild weather as well, which is a major factor in both deer fitness and fawn survival. Due to these circumstances, this year both the overall number of fawns seen and the number of twins and triplets across the state have increased.
In addition to an increase in the number of fawns being reported, the overall number of deer being observed appears to be up as well. The 2017 deer season is forecasted to have similar to slightly increased success rates compared to last year.
The 2016 season, while seeing a decrease in hunter numbers, ended with a slight increase in harvest from 2015. Overall hunting success increased across most of the state in 2016, with slightly more than 5 out of every 10 hunters taking home at least one deer last season.
The report offers a regional breakdown and information for hunters, including sections on:
• deer breeding activity
• hunting prospects for regions across the state
• wildlife health and regulations
• an expanded urban area hunt
• where to hunt on public land
• other opportunities for hunters
Sharing your harvest
The Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program is a wonderful way for hunters to share a part of their harvest this fall, or donate a whole deer. Since 1991, the organization has been working to help connect donors, wild game processors and charities that feed needy individuals. Together, they have assembled a network of processors and charities to help channel wild game donations into the hands of those in need. If interested in donating, visit sportsmenagainsthunger.org for a list of participating processors.
Go online for MDNR’s hunting report on deer.