NRC Considering Deer Regulation Changes Thursday

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The Department of Natural Resources recently recommended three changes to deer regulations relating to buck hunting in the Upper Peninsula, antlerless hunting and to allow the harvest of albino or all-white deer. These regulation changes will be considered at Thursday’s meeting of the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing at the Lansing Center, located at 333 E. Michigan Ave.

Under the UP antler point restrictions proposal, hunters with a combination license would not be allowed to take a buck with less than three antler points on one side with the regular tag, and not less than four antler points on one side with the restricted tag. The restriction for the regular tag would not apply to hunters in the Lower Peninsula. The proposal to impose antler restrictions on both bucks taken with a combination license was submitted to the NRC by Upper Peninsula sportsmen.

“Our survey results indicate that deer hunters are interested in increasing the number of mature bucks in the deer herd,” said DNR Deer Specialist Rod Clute. “This suggestion was proposed as a possible way to decrease the harvest of one and one-half year-old bucks to build a herd with an older age structure.”

Also, the NRC will decide which Deer Management Units will be open to antlerless-deer hunting this fall.

“The DNR has recommended opening private land in Wexford and Lake Counties, which did not allow antlerless deer hunting last year,” Clute said.

Clute added that four counties were open to private land only antlerless licenses last year – Roscommon, Gladwin, Arenac and Clare – are recommended to also have antlerless licenses available on public land this year. In the Upper Peninsula, DMUs 151 and 021, which were open for antlerless deer hunting on private land only last year, are recommended to be closed, while DMU 252, which was open on both private and public land last year is recommended to be restricted to private land only this fall.

Lastly, the DNR has recommended lifting the prohibition against shooting albino or all white deer. Wildlife officials say preventing the harvest of all white deer has resulted in protecting some exotic species, such as fallow deer, that the department does not want to become established in the wild.

For a copy of the agenda, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr. The public may make comments to the NRC starting at 4:30 p.m. at each NRC meeting.