Central Lower Peninsula Leads in Deer Hunting in 2017

As we are coming closer to the 2018 whitetail season here in Michigan, the DNR released their 2017 Deer Hunt Survey and it gives a look into what parts of the state are the most successful for hunters and which are leaving hunters wanting more.

Gratiot County was number one, Isabella County a close second and Montcalm and Mecosta came in third with all three averaging at least 7.5 deer harvested per ten hunters.

“They have both their hiding and bedding areas and the feed to help them grow,” says Darryl Johnson, owner of Tamarack Sports in Lakeview.

When one drives through the area, you see it. Wooded swamps butt up against open farmland providing everything a deer would want but the deer numbers are also helped by the hunters.

“A lot of people are starting to practice QDM, quality deer management, and they are seeing results from it,” says Johnson, “They are being more picky letting the little ones go shooting more mature bucks.”

“I guess maybe we take it for granted a little bit too much here because we do have such a vast variety of animals,” says Jamey Sadler, owner of Sadler’s Great Outdoors in Six Lakes, “It’s not uncommon to go buy a field at night and see 20 deer.”

The numbers may go up this year even more as the DNR tries to manage the growing chronic wasting disease in the area by raising limits and lowering prices to entice hunters to thin out the disease and stop the spread.

“If we can keep it in a manageable section then we won’t worry about the rest of the herd.” says Sadler.

The hope is, a healthy deer population will bring with it the return of a healthy hunter population.

“I think that there’s probably a slight down take in the numbers out there but there still a pretty good amount of youths getting involved,” says Johnson.