LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — After years of low response rates from hunters about their harvest, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is now requiring all hunters to report their kills within 72 hours.

In the early 2000s, the DNR received responses from an average of 75% of hunters, compared to just 33% in 2021.

According to the department, lower participation is a concern because it can lead to inaccurate estimates.

If hunters do not report their kills within 72 hours this season, they will risk being fined $50 to $500, and also a potential penalty of a 90-day misdemeanor.

While the change is still new, the DNR says they are more understanding while hunters grasp the concept.

“For this year it’s not something that we are going to really be enforcing, but rather making sure that people are informed,” said Chad Stewart, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

You can report your harvest online or through the DNR mobile app. There is also a QR code you can scan on the back of your harvest tag that will take you right to the website.

Over 95,000 deer have already been reported through this new online tracking method.

If hunters are lost on how to submit their harvest, there is assistance available.

“We do have staff available at our main offices to assist with reporting,” Stewart said.

Knowing the deer population helps the DNR gauge trends across the state.

For this season they predict over 450,000 hunters going out with over 200,000 deer to be shot. This is following trends with previous years.