The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the archery deer season opened statewide on Monday, Oct. 1. The season runs through Nov. 14, then reopens after the firearm deer season for late archery hunting Dec. 1 through Jan. 1. Autumn is a great time to enjoy the outdoors in Michigan and bow hunting can be done when the weather is mild.
During the archery season, an archery license, combination license regular tag or combination license restricted tag can be used to harvest either an antlerless deer or a qualifying buck. Antlerless-only licenses are also valid during the archery season.
If a hunter chooses to harvest a buck with an archery tag or combination license, the following restrictions apply:
- Using an archery tag: bucks must have one antler at least 3 inches long, except in DMUs 117, 135 and 245, where one antler must have at least two points, and in DMUs 045, 115 and 122, where one antler must have at least three points.
- Using a combination license regular tag: bucks must have one antler at least 3 inches long, except in DMU 245, where one antler must have at least two points, and in DMUs 045, 115, 487 and the entire Upper Peninsula (U.P.), where one antler must have at least three points.
- Using a combination license restricted tag: bucks must have at least four points on one side.
Hunters are limited to purchasing only two kill tags for bucks each year – either an archery tag and a regular firearm tag, or a combination license with two kill tags valid during both the archery and firearm hunting seasons. Regardless of the types of licenses purchased, if two bucks are harvested, one of them must have at least four points on at least one antler. Also, if a buck is harvested in the U.P. or DMU 487 with an archery tag, a second buck cannot be taken from that same hunting unit (U.P. or 487) with a regular firearm license. Hunters are encouraged to be familiar with the antler point restrictions in their chosen DMU before purchasing a license.
All archery and firearm seasons are open to crossbow hunting, except in the U.P., where deer hunters cannot use crossbows after Nov. 30 unless they have a disability permit. The free crossbow stamp is still required for all crossbow hunters.
Hunters are also reminded that the baiting of deer is prohibited in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties, and within the townships of Oscoda, Plainfield, Wilber, Au Sable and Baldwin in Iosco County. Elsewhere, baiting may occur only from Oct. 1 to Jan 1. No more than 2 gallons of bait may be present at any hunting site at a time, and it must be spread out over a minimum 10-foot by 10-foot area. If hunters do choose to use bait, the DNR suggests they not place bait repeatedly at the same point on the ground, and only place bait out when they are actively hunting. This will minimize the chance of transmission of any disease that may be present, either deer-to-deer at bait sites or through contamination of bait.
In addition to bringing the opening of another Michigan deer season, this fall marks the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (PR), the program that directs funds from federal excise taxes on archery equipment, firearms and ammunition back to state wildlife agencies for wildlife conservation, restoration and hunter education.
“The department is extremely proud of the recreational and economic benefits of bow hunting, and of the important way in which more than 320,000 archers support wildlife management in Michigan,” said DNR deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph.
“The vast majority of all wildlife conservation efforts have been funded by hunters and trappers through the equipment and licenses that they buy,” Rudolph said, “and the DNR, Michigan citizens and all who benefit from Michigan’s natural resource-based economy are indebted for those contributions.”
Detailed information about deer hunting regulations can be found in the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest, available at all license vendors, DNR Operations Service Centers and online at www.michigan.gov/hunting.
Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources