A new package of deer regulations will be introduced to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at its Nov. 12 meeting. The NRC is expected to vote on the proposed regulations, for the 2021 fall deer hunting season, in December or January.
The proposed changes are meant to further simplify deer regulations and remove barriers to participation in deer hunting. If approved, the regulations will provide additional opportunity, cost savings and flexibility for deer hunters.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses existing and projected data to gauge the impact of the proposed regulations. The data shows that the changes will not have a significant negative effect on the deer herd or the quality of deer hunting.
“A team of wildlife biologists, law enforcement officers and other key DNR staff worked together to prepare these recommendations for consideration by the Natural Resources Commission. The goal is to create rules that are easier to follow and that offer hunters more flexibility in taking deer to help feed their families," said Chad Stewart, DNR deer, elk and moose program leader.
"It's important for hunters' voices to be part of the regulation-setting process, and we appreciate everyone who joined in the virtual open houses or completed surveys about the proposed 2021 regulations," he said. "Their thoughtful feedback has been critical."
The proposed 2021 regulation changes include:
- A proposal to overhaul the antlerless license system so that each antlerless license may be used on public or private land anywhere in the Lower Peninsula or in portions of the south central Upper Peninsula with deer management units open for deer hunting.
- Under this scenario, some limited antlerless hunting opportunity in the midzone deer management units of the Upper Peninsula would be available to applicants through a random drawing. The northernmost DMUs of the U.P. would be closed to this antlerless license type.
- A proposal to allow crossbows to be used during the late portion of the archery season across the Upper Peninsula.
- A proposal to remove the three-point antler point restriction on the regular tag of the deer combo license in the Upper Peninsula. Legal bucks on this tag would have one antler 3 inches or greater, which would standardize this regulation across much of the state. It also would make the regulations for the regular tag of the deer combo license and the single deer license consistent across the Upper Peninsula.
- Proposed changes to supplemental feeding, which include:
- No longer requiring a permit for supplemental feeding in the Upper Peninsula.
- Defining dates during which supplemental feeding can occur – starting Jan. 1 and not to extend beyond May 15.
- Prohibiting recreational or supplemental feeding if a location is deemed to be a safety hazard.
- Providing consistency between recreational and supplemental feeding.
- Requiring that all recreational and supplemental feed be limited to 2 gallons per calendar day and 2 gallons at any one time.
Hunter feedback on the proposed regulations for the 2021 fall deer hunting season is encouraged at NRC meetings or by email to NRC@Michigan.gov or DNR-Wildlife@Michigan.gov.
Media contact: Chad Stewart, 517-282-4810
General inquiries: DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453