January antlerless deer hunting opportunities in Alpena County

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that an additional antlerless deer firearm hunt has been added in the northeast Lower Peninsula to help with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) management. Hunt dates are Jan. 4-7 and 11-14, 2018. The hunt will occur on private land in Alpena County, south of M-32.

“We hope this January hunt will further align our antlered and antlerless harvest ratios in the area, which should benefit future hunting experiences,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer and elk specialist. “Increasing antlerless harvest can improve habitat, which in turn can improve overall deer fitness. That can translate into better antler production the following summer.

“Additionally, we want to partner with landowners to boost hunter access on critical properties where deer and cattle may come into contact,” Stewart said. “This January hunt is a perfect opportunity for local landowners to try out the Hunting Access Program and see if it’s a program they are willing to participate in long-term.”

Michigan’s Hunting Access Program was created in 1977 to increase public hunting opportunities in southern Michigan, where 97 percent of the land base is privately owned. HAP provides financial incentives to private landowners in most counties within the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and a portion of the eastern Upper Peninsula who allow hunters access to their lands. The DNR hopes to expand the program in Alpena County in order to facilitate hunter access to private land.

For this January hunt, eligible landowners can receive a lease payment of up to $7.50 per acre for allowing deer hunting on their lands. The size of an enrolled property will help determine the maximum number of hunters allowed on that property.

For those landowners who are interested in enrolling in the Hunter Access Program, an expedited application process will be offered. DNR staff will be available at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center in Alpena (1900 M-32 West) to process enrollments and answer questions about the hunt Wednesday, Dec. 20, 3 to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Important hunt information:

This is an antlerless deer-only season on private land and only in portions of Alpena County south of highway M-32.
All rules and regulations for firearm deer season apply. See the 2017 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.
Antlerless deer can be harvested with a deer license, deer combination license or private land antlerless deer license for DMU 487 during this hunt.
DNR deer check stations for this hunt will be located at:

Alpena Field Office, 4343 M-32 West, Alpena. Open Jan. 4-8 and 11-14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Atlanta Field Office, 13501 M-33, Atlanta. Open Jan. 4, 5, 8, 11 and 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Northland Market, 9010 M-65 South, Lachine (near the intersection of M-65 and Beaver Lake Road). Open Jan. 4-7 and 11-14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To set up an appointment to have a deer checked outside of open DNR check station hours, call 989-785-4251, ext. 5233.
Hunters interested in donating their harvest can bring their deer to any of the DNR check stations that are open for this hunt. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is working with Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to ensure that donated deer are processed free of charge and distributed to local food banks. Each deer donated provides 33 meals to those in need in northeast Michigan.

Hunters interested in finding public land within the area to hunt should visit michigan.gov/hap to locate lands enrolled in the Hunting Access Program.

Since 1995, Michigan has tested white-tailed deer for bovine tuberculosis year-round. Tuberculosis is a disease caused by certain bacteria that attack the respiratory system of animals and humans. There are several types of tuberculosis, but bTB can infect the widest variety of animals and is what wildlife managers have been working to eradicate from Michigan’s white-tailed deer population.

In the U.S. today, the threat of humans contracting bovine tuberculosis from animals is extremely remote. However, as when coming into contact with any wild game, hunters should use gloves when field-dressing deer and practice proper food-preparation techniques.

Learn more about bovine tuberculosis at michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.