The Michigan DNR’s deer forecast in an abbreviated form.
Within the UP, deer populations continue to slowly increase following a second mild winter in a row. Fawn production should be good, though predation may have produced some losses. Antlered buck numbers will likely be on the rise, as the increased production of fawns in 2010 should lead to greater antlered buck numbers this year. More deer will be found in the Southern UP near Lake Michigan, with fewer in the Northern UP near Lake Superior. Antlerless licenses are available in DMUs 022, 055, 122, 152, 155, 252, and 255 for 2011. Special buck harvest restrictions noted above are in place throughout the UP.
Northern Lower Michigan
Mild winter conditions for the second year in a row in the NLP should lead to increasing deer numbers. Deer numbers on many state land areas appear to be on the rise, though they are still below goal in some areas. In some NLP units, indications are that there is an overabundance of deer on private land but lower than desired populations on public land. Special antlerless seasons and private land license quotas are used in these units to target deer on private land even if abundant sign and sightings do not occur on public land. The number of antlerless deer licenses is the same as last year in eastern NLP multi-unit area DMU 487, while no antlerless permits were made available in four counties (Cheboygan, Otsego, Roscommon, and Kalkaska). Special buck harvest restrictions noted above are in place in DMU 487. Within DMU 487 ONLY, hunters may harvest an antlerless deer with a firearm or combination license within the Nov. 15-30 firearms season.
The deer population in southern Michigan is expected to be similar to the last few years. Abundant food and cover in the form of agricultural crops and scattered swamps and woodlots provide very good habitat across the southern Michigan landscape. This high quality habitat, combined with relatively mild winter conditions, results in an abundant and productive deer population. Deer populations generally exceed DNR goals and fawns generally come in sets of twins and triplets. High numbers of antlerless permits are available again this year, particularly in the multi-county DMU 486 (most of southern Michigan except St. Clair, Macomb, Wayne, and Monroe Counties). rm season or the Dec. 9-18 muzzleloader season.