Deer hunters in 12 northwest Lower Peninsula counties will have to count antler points before they shoot a buck this fall, as the Natural Resources Commission enacted antler point restrictions (APRs) at its June 13 meeting in Lansing.

The regulation requires hunters to ensure antlered deer have at least one antler with a minimum of three points, with each point at least 1 inch long. A similar rule has been in effect in Leelanau County the last ten seasons.

The NRC approved the regulation under a process initiated after the Northwest Michigan branch of the Quality Deer Management Association proposed the rule more than a year ago. The process requires a DNR survey of deer hunters in the proposed area, which in this case found that 69 percent of hunters approved of the regulation.

Under the process, proposed APRs must protect at least 50 percent of the yearling bucks. This ensures that restrictions can have a meaningful impact on the number of bucks likely to survive their first hunting season, leading to a herd with more, older bucks in it.

The counties added under this restriction include Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford. Throughout Michigan, all hunters that harvest two antlered deer must ensure at least one has four or more antler points on one side, and this requirement will remain in place within these counties.

In addition, a group known as the Lower Peninsula Deer Management Initiative (LPDMI) has submitted two different APR proposals to be considered for implementation starting with the 2014 deer season. Informational meetings are being held at a number of locations in June and July. More information can be found on the DNR website at

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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4 thoughts on “Antler Point Restrictions in Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula Approved by NRC

  1. This is outstanding! I hope the rest of the state can pass similar legislation to protect yearling bucks from being shot and making Michigan one of the best whitetail states instead of one of the worst.

    1. I practice qdm, but i think it is completely stupid to impose this. So whats this teach our youth about hunting? That trophy racks are the only important thing about harvesting a deer. One of my favorite bucks (my first buck) I harvested is a spike I shot after 7 years of hunting. Ya, I pretty much learned to hunt on my own, and shot quite a few small bucks(which keep me into hunting). Now I practice QDM by my own choice I pass up anywhere of 7-20 bucks a year now on average. But that is my choice, many people I know do not go out the 30-50 days a year as I do to wait for that decent 8 point or better. There just trying to put meat on the table, and could give a crap if the deer has big horns. If this mandatory QDM was around in the area I hunted when I was a kid I more then likely would not be hunting today.

      1. You, and probably many others, would likely not be hunting today if you had not shot those ‘small’ bucks to keep you going when you were just beginning…but I can guarantee that there are just as many poeple out there who do not hunt today, because of the fact that they didn’t have the chance to shoot a ‘larger’ buck. We must realize that it just comes down to each persons unique perspectives and experiences. There is a reason that some hunters’ hearts beat faster when a mature buck steps out in front of them. Also, there’s a reason that some hunters are perfectly content shooting any buck no matter what size rack he carries. Society today is more competitive than ever before, so how can we fault the younger generations for wanting to make this sport more of a challenge? There wouldn’t be as many hunters as there are, if there wasn’t that challenge & possibility to create the ambition to hold out for a larger rack, or a more mature deer. Try not to take it as perverting the ‘ol sport of hunting; it is simply approaching it from another angle. The original ‘rules’ of hunting never specified that trophy racks, body weight, age, gender were any more important than the other – To each his own.

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