Michigan’s 2019 deer hunting forecast and tips for a successful season


Michigan officials have been out observing deer herds and have some hunting tips for a successful season.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists have the following predictions for the Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula and southern Lower Peninsula.

Even though some areas saw record-breaking snow levels last year, overall it was considered an average winter for the U.P. Early reports indicate deer numbers are similar to last year. Overall deer numbers are low in the U.P. and buck sightings have been limited. Those that have been observed look very healthy, and antler development appears average for the area.

It was a mild to average winter for the northern Lower Peninsula, which allowed deer populations to grow across the area. Buck observations were similar to last year. Nutrition has been good which led to healthy deer conditions and good numbers of bucks.

Deer numbers appear to be similar or higher than last year in the southern Lower Peninsula. Additionally, there seems to be excellent fawn production and the DNR reports that the deer are in great shape. There are many deer, including bucks, throughout the area. The DNR observes that buck numbers and conditions are similar to last year. Some bachelor herds are being seen with 2.5 and 3.5 year old deer in them.

A few tips to keep in mind for this season is that, scouting probably has the biggest impact on hunting success. Observation and an understanding of how and why deer move on the landscape are important. Watch for signs like deer trails and bedding as well as feeding areas, and rubs and scrapes.

Hunter education courses teach new hunters firearm safety, responsibility, ethics, wildlife conservation and identification, game care, survival and first aid.

In an effort to combat chronic wasting disease, be sure to check the latest hunting regulations in your area.

In the Lower Peninsula, a deer baiting and feeding ban went into earlier this year to reduce the risk of spreading CWD. This ban applies to both public and private land.

In the Upper Peninsula, deer baiting and feeding are banned in the Core CWD Surveillance Area.

The 2019 Hunting Digest has all deer hunting regulations, season dates and bag limits. The Antlerless Application Period ended in mid-August and results of the drawing can be found online.

Michigan DNR deer, elk and moose management specialist Chad Stewart talks about the upcoming deer seasons.

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