Michigan DNR to propose deer regulation changes

In 2014, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources agreed to maintain deer regulations on a three-year regulatory cycle to stabilize regulations, reduce public confusion and enhance communications. That three-year time frame has ended, and the DNR has prepared recommended changes to deer regulations and will present those changes at the May 11 NRC meeting.

The NRC has the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and sportfish.

“Deer are very important to the citizens of Michigan. There is much interest going into this next regulation cycle, especially since we are proposing quite a few changes. It is critical that we provide an extensive summary of any recommended change so those who are interested can voice concerns to the NRC as part of the public input process,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist.

“We try to take a comprehensive approach when we construct our proposed changes,” Stewart said. “We collected input from public comments and stakeholder groups over the last three years, and have identified the issues that are important to them. We then analyze the data that we have and make recommendations using the best biological and social science available.”

The NRC meetings provide a forum for public comment on the language and intent of proposed orders used by the DNR. The next NRC meeting is scheduled for May 11 at West Shore Community College in Scottville, Michigan, in the Administrative and Conference Building – North Lounge. The meeting agenda is available online at michigan.gov/nrc.

Comments also may be e-mailed to NRC@michigan.gov.

Within Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment No. 4 of 2017, the following recommendations will be brought forth to the NRC for information in May. Regulations set in 2017 are recommended to be in place for three years.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Add Portland and Danby townships in Ionia County and Roxand Township in Eaton County to Deer Management Unit (DMU) 333.

Create a new Core CWD Area, DMU 359, which includes Mecosta, Austin, Morton, Hinton, Aetna and Deerfield townships in Mecosta County and Cato, Winfield and Reynolds townships in Montcalm County.

Require deer check in DMU 359.

Require only the head to be surrendered to the department for CWD testing from deer originating in the Core areas, along with any other material requested by the DNR, and affixed with a DNR-issued CWD survey tag.

Prohibit the importation of carcasses or parts thereof, of cervids into Michigan from any state or province.

Individuals picking up roadkill within DMU 333 and DMU 359 must obtain a permit and submit heads to the DNR within 72 hours of pickup.

Provide disease control permits to eligible landowners within DMU 359.

The DNR director may authorize a disease management hunt, lasting no longer than nine days, between Jan. 2 and March 31, where additional harvest is deemed necessary to meet disease management objectives.

Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP)

Remove sunset provision from the pilot counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, which allowed for firearms to be used during portions of the archery season by permit.

Remove the ability to use firearms during the archery season in the pilot counties except for the period of Oct. 1-14 (the current statewide rule).

Allow for the take of antlered deer under a DMAP.

Allow for the number of antlered deer taken with a DMAP to be determined by the investigator based on the amount of damage occurring.

Require only the head and antlers to be submitted to DNR staff if an antlered deer is harvested with a DMAP.

Harvest of antlered deer using a DMAP must be reported to a specified DNR office or personnel within the business hours of the 72 hours after harvest.

Eliminate the additional reporting requirement for all permittees authorized to use a firearm.

Drummond Island Regulations

Implement a three-point antler point restriction (APR) on the single deer license.

Implement a “one antlered deer per deer hunting season” regulation.

North Manitou Island Regulations

Clarify what type of license and/or permit is required for deer hunting seasons, bag limits, tagging requirements, baiting and season dates.

Northeast Lower Peninsula Multi-County Regulations

Retain antlerless tagging options and add a three-point APR to the single deer license.

Dissolve DMU 135 to align with DMU 487 regulations. Hunters may purchase a public-land DMU antlerless deer license for DMU 487 that is valid for all six counties. Public-land hunters wishing to hunt in DMU 452 would still have to purchase a public-land DMU 452 antlerless deer license.

Remove the ability to bait in Iosco and Presque Isle counties.

Northwest Lower Peninsula Antler Point Restriction Re-Survey

Continue the APR without sunset beginning with 2017 deer hunting season.

Open/Closed DMUs

Antlerless deer license quota recommendations will be presented to the NRC at its June meeting.

Southern Lower Peninsula – Allow all DMUs to be open for antlerless deer licenses, except for public land in DMU 025 (Genesee County), which does not have public land available.
Northern Lower Peninsula – Allow all DMUs to be open for antlerless licenses on both public and private land, except for DMU 145 (North Manitou Island), which has no private land.
Upper Peninsula – Allow five units to be open for antlerless licenses, four of which – DMU 055 (Menominee), DMU 121 (Bay de Noc), DMU 155 (Gladstone) and DMU 255 (La Branche) – have proposals for issuance of both public and private land licenses, and one of which – DMU 122 (Norway) – has a proposal for issuance for private land only licenses.

South Fox Island Regulations

Remove two-point APR.

Remove permit requirement.

Remove the open bow and arrow season and firearm designated season dates and align these season dates with the statewide open season dates.

Urban Deer Management Zone

Pilot Urban Deer Management Zone for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties that allows for an extension of the archery season until Jan. 31.

Licenses including a deer license, combination deer license or an antlerless deer license will be valid during the extended season.

All rules and regulations for the archery season apply.

Allow three years for evaluation, with a 2020 sunset clause.

Other Changes

Allowing individuals possessing a valid deer hunting license to take an antlerless deer during the early and late antlerless seasons on private land within DMU 333, DMU 419, DMU 452 and DMU 487.

Carrying crossbow during muzzleloader and black-powder firearm season.

Eliminate daily antlerless purchase limits.

Free permit for commercial deer processors.

Rehabilitated deer shall be released by Oct. 1st and, if euthanized, must be sent to the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory for testing.

Either name and address or driver’s license number or DNR Sportcard number may be affixed to tree stands.