Hunters will have a little more territory to hunt for antlerless deer this fall as the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) opened a few more deer management units (DMUs) in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula at its regular monthly meeting Thursday in Lansing.
Newly opened DMUs reflect increased deer populations in those areas, explained Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph. The DNR will seek low quotas for the newly opened DMUs, Rudolph said.
A total of 72 DMUs will be open to antlerless deer hunting on public land, and 86 DMUs – plus the two multi-county DMUs in the Lower Peninsula (DMUs 486 and 487) — will be open on private land. A complete list of open DMUs and their quotas will be published shortly in the 2012 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest.
Antlerless deer license applications go on sale July 15 at all license agents and online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.
In addition, the NRC voted to restrict hunters in DMUs 486 and 487 to a maximum of 10 private land antlerless licenses this season, a decrease from five per day in 2011.
Special statewide hunts for youth and 100 percent disabled veterans will be held Sept. 22-23. The early antlerless season on private land in portions of the Lower Peninsula is being reduced from five days to two, also Sept. 22-23.
“There have been increasing concerns from some members of the hunting public that the recent expansion of September hunting is causing deer to be more wary during the traditional seasons,” Rudolph said. “By reducing and consolidating the September seasons, we’re addressing those concerns while maintaining opportunities for youth and disabled hunters throughout the state and for early harvest of antlerless deer on private land where it is most needed.”
In addition, the NRC changed conditions on special crop-damage permits in accordance with recent legislation. Public Act 65 of 2012 allows up to 15 authorized shooters on Deer Damage Shooting Permits. In the past, special authorization was required to allow more than three shooters to be designated per permit.
In other action, the NRC reaffirmed that naturally shed deer and elk antlers may be legally collected, possessed and sold.