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Michigan NRC approves 2021 deer hunting regulations

Deer hunting regulations for the 2021 season were approved Thursday by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at its regular meeting, hosted virtually. The changes, aimed at further simplifying deer regulations and removing barriers to hunting participation, go into effect with the start of the 2021 deer hunting seasons in September.

The regulations will provide additional opportunity, flexibility and cost savings for hunters and – based on existing and projected data the Department of Natural Resources uses to gauge the impact of proposed regulations – are not expected to have a significant negative effect on the deer herd or the quality of deer hunting.

“Our goals with these regulations are twofold: to make hunting regulations easier to understand and follow in Michigan, and also to manage Michigan’s abundant deer herd,” said DNR deer program specialist Chad Stewart. “We feel that these changes move us in the right direction.”

The 2021 approved regulation changes are:

Deer Management Unit-specific antlerless deer licenses have been replaced with a universal antlerless license that can be used across multiple DMUs.

Antlerless licenses may now be purchased without an application in the Lower Peninsula and portions of the south-central Upper Peninsula that have DMUs open to antlerless deer hunting. Licenses may be used on public or private land.

In the mid-zone Upper Peninsula DMUs that are open to antlerless deer hunting, a deer hunting access permit must accompany the universal antlerless license. The deer hunting access permit, intended to limit participation where the population can be sensitive to harsh winter weather, will be available through a drawing.

The northernmost DMUs of the U.P. are closed to antlerless deer hunting in all seasons.

Archery hunters in portions of the Upper Peninsula may pursue antlerless deer on their deer or deer combo licenses. DMUs 127, 066, 131, 042, 031, 007 and 048 will be closed to antlerless harvest during the archery seasons.

The expanded urban archery season through Jan. 31 is now permanent in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Upper Peninsula supplemental and recreational deer feeding regulations have changed, including:

A permit is no longer required for supplemental feeding in the Upper Peninsula.

Supplemental feeding can occur Jan. 1 to May 15.

Recreational or supplemental feeding is prohibited if a location is deemed to be a safety hazard.

All recreational feed must be given in increments of only 2 gallons per calendar day and only 2 gallons at any one time.

The 2021 deer hunting regulations will be printed in the 2021 Hunting Digest, which is expected to be finalized in late spring and available at license agent locations and online at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests around July 1.