Upper Peninsula Deer Population is Down, DNR Exploring Options

 The DNR says harsh winters have hurt the deer population in the Upper Peninsula.
Now the state is looking into how to fix it.

The drop in deer population over the years has the Natural Resources Commission and the DNR considering a new strategy to help boost the numbers.

“The range of options run the gamut of most extreme to least extreme…the most extreme thing we could do is shutting down the deer season in the UP and the least extreme is do nothing because we already have very conservative recommendations,” said Chad Stewart, Deer Management Specialist.

Stewart says some of the other options are to shut down antlerless option during bow season, shorten archery season, eliminate youth hunt and get rid of combination licenses.

Hunters in the UP worry about the impact of any of these changes.

“After you think about it it would be devastating to you area, family tradition economics,” said Tim Hoath. 

He says he agrees that he would like to see the deer population increase, but hopes for other options like limiting the harvest

“I would love to see a 6 point or bigger mandatory or 8 point or bigger mandatory it won’t hurt economy, won’t hurt family camps, people will still get together.”

Still, the DNR says the decision will come down to the NRC.

“The good news is this year seems to have moderated a bit and had less of an impact and helped the deer herd out. We’ll probably make a decision June or July because were usually have deer season set up by our July meeting.”