Michigan Deer News

...  in Michigan's Upper Peninsula ... Wildlife biologists say nearly every single fawn died after the harsh winters of 2012 and 2013, further hurting a struggling herd. In fact, the population has been on the decline since 1995...  the lack of high-quality deer wintering complexes seems to be the main factor in plummeting deer populations...

... "In this case, one of our benefits is agriculture and deer habitat. Deer grasses and maple saplings that deer feed on really benefit from having fire." ...

As hunting wanes, selling Michigan to a new outdoors generation July 19, 2016 Bridge Michigan
... From 2009 to 2015, the number of resident hunters in in Michigan dropped 10 percent, from 769,875 to 695,747... “The hunting and fishing generation was a lot about family, going away to deer camp together. The millennial generation is much more about weaving activities into their daily life.” ...

... The judge concluded the plaintiffs failed to state any claim for violation of federal law upon which relief could be granted...

Ann Arbor, Deer cull divides 5th Ward candidates for Ann Arbor City Council July 13, 2016 Michigan, MLive.com
... Leeser said he gives the city a D or a D-minus since 63 deer were killed and the goal was to kill 100. He doesn't think it was worth the time and effort the City Council put into the issue over the course of many months from 2014 through all of 2015 and into 2016. He said it became a divisive issue across the city...

     Private landowners interested in helping to maintain or improve Upper Peninsula deer wintering habitat can learn more about the subject and cost-share programs available to aid in those efforts at an upcoming meeting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has scheduled for July 20...

New rules to affect deer hunters in mid-Michigan July 6, 2016 Lansing State Journal
... outbreak of chronic wasting disease ... hunters in eight more townships will have to submit their deer for testing this fall as it tries to assess the spread of the fatal neurological disease...

A Montcalm County woman was fined nearly $600 for taking four baby deer into her home from the wild and apparently trying to keep them as pets. - July 6, 2016 Michigan


...  expanded the Core Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Area to include 17 townships... “With the detection of CWD-positive deer in the southern part of Clinton County, we need to better understand the magnitude of the disease in those areas,” ...

Fatal deer disease impacts Ionia County July 5, 2016 Michigan, Sentinel-Standard
... seven deer in Michigan have tested positive for CWD. However, no deer found in Ionia County have tested positive for the disease. The reason for the expanded management zone is because three of the diseased deer were found in south Clinton County, which neighbors Ionia County...

DNR announces opportunity to comment on draft master plans for state game areas in Michigan's southwest region July 1, 2016 MDNR
     Michigan Department of Natural Resources state game area managers are seeking public input related to several area master plans in the southwest region of the state.  These plans are important in guiding habitat management, based on both the featured species selected for management at each state game area and use of the areas for recreation such as hunting and wildlife viewing... Draft master plans are available online via the links: Dansville State Game Area (Ingham County); Edmore State Game Area (Isabella and Montcalm counties); Haymarsh Lake State Game Area (Mecosta County) Middleville State Game Area (Barry County)

Farmington Hills includes deer survey in summer tax bills July1, 2016 Michigan,Observer & Eccentric Newspapers
... in their summer tax bills.  City officials have included a survey they hope will help determine if there is a deer problem in the city and, if so, what to do about it...

Royal Oak, City approves educational campaign to warn against feeding deer June 22, 2016 Michigan, C&G Newspapers
... “There is a reason that the deer are there. The reason is they were able to find an easy food source and if you don’t address that, you’re going to be facing the same problem over and over again.” ... Mayor Pro Tem Michael Fournier ... asked city administration to also look at attaching monetary fines to feeding...

Of wolves, deer, maples and wildflowers June 16, 2016 Michigan, Great Lakes Echo
... With the resurgence of wolves in the region, smart deer are learning to keep away from areas with many of the predators, meaning that wildflowers and young maples there have a better chance of survival, according to a recent study by scientists from the University of Notre Dame and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)...

... Royal Oak officials are ready to start an information campaign and possibly issue fines to stop residents and others from feeding the animals... The state Department of Natural Resources does not support relocation or sterilization of deer herds ...

... State game area managers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are seeking public input on several draft master plans for state game and wildlife areas located in the southeastern region of the state...

DNR seeks input on updated Michigan Deer Management Plan June 7, 2016 Michigan, Petoskey News-Review
... The draft updated plan is available on the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/deer. The plan will be available for review through July 8. Comments may be submitted to dnr-wildlife@michigan.gov or sent to DNR Wildlife Division, 525 West Allegan St., Lansing, MI 48909.

Ann Arbor, People in shooting zones posed a challenge during Ann Arbor deer cull  June 7, Michigan, MLive.com
...  "During every management visit, individuals were observed in closed parks at the same time deer were being observed and the operation had to be suspended,"  ...  people, including joggers, dog walkers and sledders, entering and exiting parks at times when the parks were closed for shooting, and people were unaware of the shooting taking place ... read the report

How to protect gardens from hungry deer: 'Deer Doctor' offers tips June 4, 2016 Michigan,  MLive
... Chemical repellents, Baker said, are typically the most effective as long as they are applied properly. Liquid Fence, which produces offensive scents, can be extremely effective, but Baker has seen that strategy backfire. She told a story of a friend who used Liquid Fence around her garden. It kept the deer out, but trapped a rabbit inside, giving it unfettered access to "the salad bar," ...

NRC expands chronic wasting disease zone June 2, 2016 Michigan, Outdoor News
... Mason [DNR Wildife Chief Russ Mason]  pointed out that every model done on CWD shows that it CWD is left unchecked it would lead to the elimination of all deer. It’s just a matter of how long will it take. Now models are wrong to some extent, but even if it’s half right that’s terrible...

DNR ready to help evaluate status of moose in Michigan June 2, 2016 Michigan, UPMatters.com
... the Fish and Wildlife Service found a petition filed by The Center for Biological DiversityA moose walks in a wetland along U.S. 41 in Marquette County near Michigamme in May. and Honor the Earth “provided substantial scientific or commercial information” that listing under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted...

     The connection between healthy forests and fire may be firmly established, understood by foresters and wildlife managers, and helpful to countless wildlife species.  However, not everyone outside those occupations has the same understanding... Native Americans used fire to manage forests and grasslands. Aspen forests, and the associated flora and fauna – including white-tailed deer and ruffed grouse – would have benefited from these fires...

... A mother deer, that recently gave birth to two fawns ... her legs were not working and she was bleeding... The two fawns will be cared for until they are ready to be sent back in wild...

Bovine TB – It takes a community May 24, 2016 Michigan, Michigan State University Extension
... What can a community do in the case of bTB? Here are a few things, but certainly not an exhaustive list.  Communicate the importance of agriculture and the need for protection against wildlife that may carry bTB to non-farming neighbors.  Collectively monitor changes in deer density and behavior...

Time is wasting to reap rewards of fall planting May 22, 2016 Michigan, Argus Press
...With the recent and predictable news of the expansion of the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management areas in southern Michigan, the handwriting is on the wall. The practice of deer baiting, as we’ve known it, is on the way out...

State expands management area for wasting disease in deer May 19, 2016 Michigan, Lansing State Journal
... expand the Core CWD Area from nine townships in three counties to 17 townships in four counties ... Successful hunters in the eight new townships will be required to take their deer to a DNR check station to be tested for the fatal neurological disease ...

... Baker presents deer-proofing seminars, educational programs and backyard consultations in her capacity as consultant to the Humane Society of the United States.... Traverwood Branch Library on Saturday, June 4 ...

Kivela CWD bill passes House May 17, 2016 Michigan, WNMU-FM
...  The state House has approved a bill that increases the penalties for illegally bringing a deer carcass into Michigan from another state that has chronic wasting disease... 

... The city plans to conduct a second annual cull next winter while continuing to explore other options and collecting more data on the city's deer population and the extent of damage being caused by deer...

...  grant proposal to purchase approximately 680-acres of the Crystal Waters, LLC property in London Township, Monroe County... would be managed for deer, turkey, small game and waterfowl habitat, along with hunting ...

CWD realities continue to spread May 5, 2016 Michigan, Port Huron Times Herald
... it has been a year since chronic wasting disease was found in a wild Michigan deer. Since May 20, 2015, six more deer have been found with the infectious, incurable disease that kills deer by destroying their brains. Each seems to have come from an area farther from that first sick deer found in Ingham County...

...  a recent online survey conducted by the city show a slim majority of respondents — 54.4 percent — support continuing lethal methods to reduce the deer population, while 45.3 percent are opposed.  A larger majority — 61.4 percent — support implementing nonlethal methods such as contraceptives or sterilization ...

... For the first few weeks of a white-tailed deer fawn’s life, its mother will cache or hide it in secluded locations. This behavior helps reduce the potential of predators finding the fawn.  A fawn’s spots are excellent camouflage ... are virtually odorless when they are young...

Ann Arbor, City Council unanimously passes 2017 budget May 3, 2016 Michigan, The Michigan Daily
... includes $35,000 to study non-lethal alternatives to the city’s controversial deer cull ... “Let Ann Arbor once more be a leader,” McGee said. “Let’s unite this community behind something positive, and let’s benchmark non-lethal methods for deer management in the state of Michigan.” ...

Lets Ditch the Big, Bad Wolf Clich April 29, 2016 Michigan, Daily Beast
... “Wolves provide a firewall against new diseases in deer,” Rolf Peterson told a Michigan Senate committee when the issue of wolf hunting was being debated. “A very obvious example may be chronic wasting disease.” Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a brain disease, like Mad Cow Disease, and it’s one of the major threats to deer populations, after it spread from deer farms and captive hunting facilities to free-ranging deer populations ...

UP wolf survey shows no significant change in population April 28, 2016 Michigan, UpperMichigansSource.com
... Currently, deer numbers in the U.P. are at lows not seen in decades and we wondered if there would be a decline in wolf numbers ... a minimum of 618 wolves ...  no significant change since 2014...

DNR steps up chronic wasting monitoring April 27, 2016 Michigan, Petoskey News-Review
... (DNR) wants to double the number of core areas monitored for deadly chronic wasting disease.  This expansion would include six new townships in Eaton County and two in Clinton County... The first case in the state was discovered at a deer farm in 2008 ... “You’ll see the damage maybe 40 years down the road. We’re trying to prevent that now.” ...

Natural Resources Commission approves year-round coyote hunting April 26, 2016 Michigan, UpperMichigansSource.com
...  an increase in complaints in both urban and rural areas. The DNR is also hoping this helps the deer population in the Upper Peninsula...

... a cattle herd in Oscoda County tested positive for Bovine Tuberculosis...Now ... a free ranging white tail deer in Presque Isle County has tested positive ... 

Why Plus/Minus is Good Enough for Deer Management April 20, 2016 Michigan, Michigan United Conservation Clubs
... More states are heading in the direction of using estimates to manage deer herds based on trends year to year, but like Michigan, also taking other factors such as deer damage, and road kill into account as well. No, Michigan does not know an EXACT number, but they are confident in a LIKELY number, and more importantly, how the deer population is trending....

Portage, Deer forum in Portage draws large crowd April 15, 2016 Michigan, WNWN-FM
... DNR Deer Specialist Chad Stevens told Portage residents last night that getting rid of them can be expensive, controversial and never-ending, because deer generally do better in suburban settings than they do in the wild...

Michigan data:  An estimated 1.5 million deer in 2015. Based on harvest data about 1.4 in 2014, 1.6 in 2013 and 1.7 in 2012. The last official estimate of 1.73 from 2011. A significant population decline in 2013 and 2014 following harsh winters, most severe in the Upper Peninsula where there was an historic drop in the deer harvest in 2014, in part due to reduced licenses issued in an effort to boost the herd. The population was thought to be down by as much as 40 percent.  Still down in 2015, a milder but hard winter, lowest in 30 years.  Population steady in southeast of state.  In 2014 an estimated 614,593 hunters took 329,000 deer for a success rate of 41 percent. 
     Harvest declines of 30 to 40 percent were reported by some regions in 2013, down about 25 percent in the Upper Peninsula overall and a further decline of 30 to 40 percent in 2014 with some regions reporting declines of about 60 percent.  Down about 10 percent in the northern Lower Peninsula and down about 5 percent in southern Lower Peninsula in 2014..  Total harvest down 8 percent in 2013, down 14.5 percent in 2014. To boost the herd, antlerless deer quotas were reduced to about 494,000 in 2014, down from about 550,000 in 2013. In 2015 antlerless permits were eliminated for archery in the Upper Peninsula. Coyote predation has also been a factor in the reduced population, particularly in the western Upper Pennisula. Michigan coyote populations are at an all time high.
     About 1.8 million deer in 2012.  In the 1990's the state had about two million deer.  On average about 40 percent of the Upper Peninsula harvest is yearling bucks.  Antler restrictions were implemented in 12 counties in 2013 and continue to be a topic of debate.  In a survey, 62 percent of hunters supported antler restrictions for the north-central Lower Peninsula, not enough to meet the 66 percent support requirement for implementation.  About eight million acres of public hunting land.
     Deer were abundant prior to the settlement of Michigan, a deer hunting season was set in 1859 but by 1870 most of the deer in the south were gone from over hunting and habitat destruction.  Deer management began in 1895 with a license requirement and bag limit.  About 45,000 deer in 1914, up to 1.125 million deer in 1937, and 1.5 million by 1949.  Over hunting and habitat destruction again resulted in a population decline during the 1960s, about 800,000 in 1965, and into 1972 with the population down to about 500,000.  Revenue from hunting fees was used to improve habitat and the population rose to about 2 million in 1989.  More History.  Michigan has 8 million acres of public hunting land.
    Elk  An estimated 1,371 in early 2016, 668 based on the 2014 winter survey, down from about  1,040 in 2012 and1,200 in 2008. Target range is 500 to 900.  Michigan restarted its elk population with just seven animals in 1918 after the herd was hunted to extinction in the 1800's. The population was above management goals in recent years, but populations are lower in 2015 so fewer licenses will be issued.   Elk and deer have different diets during the spring, summer and fall.
     Moose  An estimated 323 based on the 2015 biennual survey - down from 451 in 2013.  Most of the moose are in Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties, but there is a herd of about 100 in the eastern Upper Peninsula.  Ticks and weather are suspected as contributors to the decline.  Moose may not survive into the future for Michigan.  In 1985 30 Canadian moose were relocated to the U.P.
     The number of game ranches peaked at about 800 in 2003 and has since fallen to about 394, in part due to rising feed prices and stricter regulations.  Deer hunting generated about $2.3 billion a year in 2014.  From 1934 to 1937, 71 moose were live trapped on Isle Royale and released on the mainland in a largely unsucessful effort to establish a population.
    Wolves  An estimated 636 in 2014 and 2015 in the Upper Peninsula.  Hunting bounties related to the decline of deer resulted in the elimination of wolves in Michigan, except for Isle Royale, by the early 1960s.  Listed an an endangered species, a few wolves by the early 1980s, more than 100 by 1994.

Other useful links:
Information about deer management, and links to additional resources such as a list of deer check stations. www.michigan.gov/deer   - Michigan Predator to Prey Study-Facebook
-  For information on Chronic Wasting Disease: www.michigan.gov/cwd
Michigan Deer Information and History, DNR
- Clickable map providing information on Michigan Deer from MDNR
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Michigan Deer Management Plan: to maintain a healthy whitetailed deer population, using sound scientific management, maximizing recreational opportunities while minimizing negative impacts on ecosystems and other wildlife species and without creating undue hardship to private interests."

Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Results  Double click chart below for larger image