The northwest Michigan chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association, in partnership with Leelanau Whitetails, has proposed new antler point restrictions (APR) for the following 12 counties: Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford.
This proposal seeks to require that all antlered deer harvested in the area have at least three antler points on one side. The statewide requirement that hunters taking two bucks must ensure at least one of those bucks has four or more antler points on one side would remain in place. The proposed regulations would be consistent with the current restriction in Deer Management Unit (DMU) 045, which is Leelanau County. The restriction will be considered for implementation starting with the 2013 deer season. Antlerless deer regulations within the proposed area would continue to be determined by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The DNR supports the voluntary implementation of APR on private land. Under guidelines adopted by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), mandatory regulations proposed by sponsoring organizations will only be implemented where a clear majority of 66-percent support among hunters in the proposed area is documented. Support will be determined by a DNR survey mailed to a sample of hunters who indicated on the 2011 DNR deer harvest survey that they hunted deer in one of the 12 counties. Surveys will be mailed starting in August.
“The northwest Michigan chapter of the QDMA proposal is our first since the moratorium has been lifted,” said DNR deer biologist Ashley Hippler. “We are looking forward to seeing how the majority of northwestern Michigan deer hunters feel about antler point restrictions.”
The northwest Michigan chapter of the QDMA will host local meetings to answer questions and provide explanation. The next meeting is scheduled for June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Mason County Eastern Middle and High School in Custer. Meetings have already been held in Benzie, Kalkaska, Manistee and Wexford counties. Landowners in any of the 12 proposed counties who would like to offer input on the proposal may email comments to DNRemail@example.com .
The final meeting is scheduled for July 28 at 4 p.m. at the Petoskey High School.
Payment by the northwest Michigan chapter of the QDMA will offset survey costs incurred by this proposal.
The NRC had placed a moratorium on accepting APR proposals in 2006, to allow the DNR to assess experiences with initial guidelines implemented in 1999. The NRC assembled a stakeholder workgroup late in 2010 to provide recommendations regarding revisions to the process. The DNR is now evaluating proposals based on recommendations from this workgroup and other modifications to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The NRC retains full authority over decisions to implement APR and other harvest regulations, but the proposal review process provides valuable information to inform those decisions