Michigan’s Deer Hunting Status

By Glen Wunderlich

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has its hands full with wildlife issues, and accordingly, what follows is a brief outline of some of pro-active measures being proposed for adoption by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) for the 2017-2019 deer regulation cycle.

CWD:  With the onset of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and its recent discovery in yet more areas, the DNR proposes amending the protocols and control measures in the Wildlife Conservation Order by adding Portland and Danby townships in Ionia County and Roxand Township in Eaton County to Deer Management Unit (DMU) 333.  This area encompasses that of the latest CWD discoveries and would create a new core CWD area, DMU 359, which includes Mecosta, Austin, Morton, Hinton, Aetna, and Deerfield townships in Mecosta County, and Cato, Winfield, and Reynolds townships in Montcalm County.

Deer checks would be required in DMU 359, as well as all protocol already in place elsewhere in the state.

Disease Control Permits also would be provided to landowners within DMU 359.

A disease management hunt may be authorized, lasting no longer than nine days between January 2 and March 31, if additional harvest is deemed necessary to meet disease management objectives.  This measure can be implemented in the event hunters do not kill enough deer during normal hunting seasons.

Antler Point Restrictions:  In 2013, the NRC approved a measure from the Northwest Michigan Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) for Antler Point Restrictions (APR)  in the Northwest Lower Peninsula requiring that hunters harvest an antlered deer only if they have at least one antler with three or more antler points.  A second antlered deer would need to have at least four points on one antler, which is consistent with current regulations elsewhere in the state.

This bold move had to receive a minimum of a 50-percent response level from the area’s hunters.  In addition, although the DNR conducted the survey, the expense of the undertaking had to be paid by the QDMA, and when the results were tabulated, an overwhelming minimum of 67 percent of respondents had to be in favor of the proposal.

The measure passed and those I’ve encountered in this area couldn’t be happier with the results.  Antler growth, as well as body size and health are appreciably stronger in just a few short years.  However, because the regulation has a sunset provision, another survey must maintain the regulation’s acceptance.  This re-survey is still being processed for the current APR, but preliminary responses show a 70-percent response rate and an overwhelming 76-percent of hunters in support.  Subsequently, the DNR proposes the NRC continue the APR without sunset beginning with the 2017 deer hunting season.

Antlerless Permits:  Finally, because of relatively mild winters the past two years, deer numbers are higher in certain areas of the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula.  As a result, 5 of the 22 Deer Management Units in the U.P. are proposed to be open for antlerless hunting, as well as the entire northern Lower Peninsula on both public and private lands.  Of course, all of the southern Lower Peninsula is to remain open to liberal antlerless hunting, as well.

Online Video Shows Strategies for Hunting Quiet Gobblers, New Food Plots Techniques

Watch the newest video on GrowingDeer.tv for turkey hunting strategies in the late season when gobblers get quiet! Plus, find out how the Steel Buffalo (roller crimper) can help lead to food plot success. It’s the first step for better soils/food plots without fertilizer. Click here to watch the hunt or visit www.GrowingDeer.tv today!

About GrowingDeer.tv: a popular on-demand web series that shares current information about deer hunting and deer management. The videos focus on what the GrowingDeer team of experienced hunters and deer managers are doing in the field week to week: action packed hunts, proven hunting strategies, habitat management, food plots, trail camera techniques and the gear it takes to get it all done. A new episode is released every Monday, 52 weeks a year with no repeats. Videos are available for viewing anytime at www.GrowingDeer.tv. The site automatically converts for mobile viewing or the shows may be shared and embedded with the link supplied on the player. Social media users may join the conversation with the GrowingDeer.tv team on Facebook and @GrowingDeer on Twitter. Also follow the team on Instagram (http://instagram.com/growingdeertv) and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/Growingdeertv/)! Read more

Michigan: DNR Releases Deer Hunter Study Report

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with DJ Case & Associates, recently released a report on a nearly yearlong study of Michigan deer hunters. Following up on recent DNR research into deer hunting participation trends, the project was designed to be completed before the 2017-2019 deer hunting regulations are established.

Report findings were presented at the April 13 Natural Resources Commission meeting. The full written report, which includes more than 100 pages of detailed information on the study process and results, is available online at michigan.gov/deer, under “MI Deer Resources.”

A few key findings included:

• Most respondents (79 percent) did not think the current deer hunting regulations are too complex.
• Differences of opinions across age categories were greater than differences between males and females.
• Regulations changes did not receive a majority of support among any group of hunters, though younger hunters generally were more supportive of changes than older hunters.
• As the hunter population ages, differences of opinions across age categories indicate the DNR should re-examine future support for regulations changes.
• Among options for possible discounts and prize drawings, a majority of younger hunters did believe they would be likely to purchase a multiyear license bundle at a discounted rate. Read more

The Second Amendment and Conservation

May, 2017

The oldest conservation organization in North America has released its position on gun ownership and its historical influence on wildlife conservation.

“Sportsmen have known for a long time that hunting supports and funds wildlife conservation and management programs,” said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “What is often overlooked is that the most successful system of wildlife conservation ever devised – the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation – would not have been possible without sportsmen and their right to own and use firearms.”

Public ownership of firearms was instrumental to the birth of the conservation movement in North America and still contributes to its continued success. The Boone and Crockett Club supports the right of citizens to own and use firearms. This right allows hunters to contribute to and maintain the longstanding success of wildlife conservation and management in North America.

“By the late nineteenth century wildlife species were depleted everywhere in North America,” said Hollingsworth. “It is indisputable that the hunter-conservationist movement rescued many species from certain extinction.”

Early hunter-conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt, who formed the Boone and Crockett Club in 1887, took action to allow game species to recover in the abundance we have today. Sportsmen across the nation joined Roosevelt in choosing to restrict themselves, limit their take, and abide by newly formed game laws and regulated hunting seasons. But they took one more step, explained Hollingsworth Jr.

“Even in the height of the Great Depression, sportsmen voted to tax themselves for the benefit of wildlife.” The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act), proposed by sportsmen and passed by Congress in 1937, placed an excise tax on the sale of sporting arms and ammunition with the funds earmarked for wildlife conservation and distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies. In 2016, $700 million were generated and to date, nearly $10 billion has been distributed to states.

“As we know, game species did recover, but the habitats that were secured and managed for game species now benefit all wildlife,” said Hollingsworth. “None of this would be possible without the Second Amendment. It is why protecting and maintaining gun ownership by the public is so critical to wildlife conservation.”

The full position statement and video can be found at this link.




MI Elk and bear hunting applications now available; videos explain drawing process

The 2017 bear and elk hunting application period is open now through June 1. A total of 200 elk and 7,140 bear licenses will be available for the 2017 hunting seasons.The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages applicants to take a few moments to watch the videos explaining the bear and elk drawing process:

Anyone can hunt wild turkey during Michigan’s spring season

Michigan’s long-awaited guaranteed spring turkey hunt – Hunt 234 – started Monday.”The intent of the spring turkey season is to provide opportunity to all hunters while maintaining high-quality turkey hunting,” said Department of Natural Resources upland game bird biologist Al Stewart. “Hunt 234 is a great way for anyone to get out hunting this spring, with a month of hunting and the ability to buy your license over the counter without an application.”

Hunt 234 is a statewide hunting license valid for all open areas, except public lands in the southern Lower Peninsula (Hunt Unit ZZ). The Hunt 234 license can be purchased at any time throughout the May 1-May 31 season. Read more

Changing Wild Turkey Trends

By Glen Wunderlich

With a full month of Michigan’s turkey season remaining, many hunters look forward to the month of May to bag a bird.  As temperatures begin moderating to the delight of outdoorsmen and women, who prefer the late season, the birds seem more in the mood to strut their stuff.  Fruit trees have blossomed, perennial legume plots have greened up, and gangs of turkeys have established their territories and settled in to routines that a good scout can exploit. 

Over the past four decades, hunting the big-game birds has gotten easier.  First of all, birds are far more plentiful, even though the total populations have dropped somewhat from their modern-day pinnacles.  If one considers that a mere 50 turkeys were killed by Michigan hunters in 1969 compared to today’s totals of some 35,000, there is no argument. 

In addition, scouting has never been easier; trailcams have changed all that.  My first wild game camera used film to capture the action, which necessitated not only purchasing film, but then returning to some facility to get it developed.  I would even pay extra for the convenience of one-hour developing, so that I could see the images even faster.  This was only 20 years ago! 

I was so ahead of the curve – that is until digital cameras arrived on scene.  Today, close-out models sporting 12 megapixels, infrared detection, movie modes and battery life of up to one year can all be had for about $100 – a far cry from the inferior film versions costing over three times as much. 

Shoguns have been the tool of choice for most turkey hunters and special shells have also been engineered for turkeys, as well.  Patterning a given load for uniformity was always a pain in the…shoulder, but until recently, most shotshells used old technology.   

Now, we have Winchester’s Long Beard XR (extended range) ammo that lives up to its name.  A proprietary concoction of buffering and shot that produce results on target surpassing anything imaginable in days gone by.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need to experiment further. 

Although I haven’t splurged for a dedicated turkey shogun (imagine that 30 years ago!), I have opted for an extra-full turkey choke for my scattergun and a red dot sight for precise aiming at all ethical ranges. 

When it comes to advancements in equipment, no review would be complete without mentioning portable blinds – another convenience unheard of years ago.  They not only have the advantage of shelter from the elements, but they make a hunter invisible to the sharp eyes of turkeys.  Along with the advantage of being able to take a youngster along, they also provide a means to dodge the omnipresent existence of pestering black flies and mosquitoes so prevalent this wet spring. 

Through all the technological advancements in hunting gear and techniques over the years, however, one aspect of the hunt remains the same:  It is that moment when you know a gobbler is falling for your tricks, as it displays its tail feathers and struts toward its final destiny – the kitchen table.

Leupold Handheld LTO-Quest

Leupold® Adds to Thermal Optics Line with Handheld LTO-Quest™

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Leupold & Stevens, Inc. introduces the latest in its line of Leupold® Thermal Optics, the LTO-Quest™.

This pocket-sized thermal optic helps hunters find downed game, track blood trails and increase situational awareness. The LTO-Quest provides a precise temperature reading of the object being scanned and displays it on the screen. In addition to showing heat sources, the LTO-Quest has a built-in flashlight and camera which allows you to capture and store as many as 2,000 images.

“Leupold works closely with hunters to develop products to help them be more effective in the field,” said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “The LTO-Quest gives hunters a pocket-sized tool to help recover game that may otherwise have been lost.”
Cycle through the eight color filters using a simple three-button interface. An internal, rechargeable battery delivers four hours of run time, and uses a standard micro USB for charging and image downloads. Read more

Sportsmen’s Alliance Spring Protect Your Passion Promotion

Protect Your Passion and Win with Sportsmen’s Alliance!


A fully guided Wyoming antelope hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters, a Savage Arms 16/116 Bear Hunter in .338 Federal, a Camp Chef Smoke Pro Pellet Grill and a complete set of NOMAD apparel are just a few of the items available in the Sportsmen’s Alliance spring Protect Your Passion promotion.


For just $10 per donation entry, sportsmen have the chance to win great prizes from iconic leaders in the outdoors – and each entry is valid for every prize drawing. As a bonus, those donating $50 or more will also receive a Sportsmen’s Alliance membership (a $35 value).


To enter, visit: http://www.sportsmensalliance.org/springpromotion/


“Every dollar raised will promote and protect the passions of sportsmen nationwide,” said Brian Lynn, Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president of marketing and communications. “We’ve assembled some great prizes from our business partners who understand the battles the Sportsmen’s Alliance engages in on a daily basis to protect the entire outdoors industry from the animal-rights movement, and because of their support we can offer these great prizes to sportsmen while continuing to protect everyone’s interests.”


The incredible prizes will be given out over the course of five weeks, starting May 5 and ending June 9, 2017. A complete list of rules and drawing dates can be found here. Prizes include:


Wyoming Antelope Hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters

Complete Set of Nomad Clothing

Savage Arms 16/116 Bear Hunter in .338 Federal

Bushnell Elite 3500 3-9x 40mm

1 Case of .338 Federal Vital Shok Ammunition from Federal Premium

Camp Chef Smoke Pro Pellet Grill

Camelbak Talon 100 oz/3.oL MG Omega ABU Backpack

RCBS Explorer Reloading Kit

Hoppes Boresnake Soft Sided Kit Read more

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