2010 Firearm Deer Season Underway in Michigan; Early Reports Available
The 2010 firearm deer season is underway, and impressions regarding deer observations, hunting activity, and check station operations from the first few days of the season have been compiled by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Hunter numbers are lower in some areas than last year, but better average success appears to have led to deer kill totals similar to or higher than the first few days of the 2009 firearm season. Here’s a look at the early impressions on a regional basis:
Upper Peninsula – Areas of the Upper Peninsula were the only locations in the state with tracking snow on opening day. Hunters in the western and central portions reported seeing more deer in the woods than last year, and antler development appeared to be above average. Hunters in the east reported seeing deer in good condition, with an increase in fawns over last year. Deer check station numbers in the west were about the same or slightly higher than in 2009, while the eastern locations as a whole were similar to last year.
Northern Lower Peninsula – Hunter numbers appeared to be down in some locations, but the amount of shooting heard and deer checked was similar to the 10 year average. Hunters on the west side reported seeing more deer and bucks in good condition, and some stations checked considerably more deer compared to opening day in 2009.
Southern Michigan – Deer check has been a bit slow at locations checking deer taken mostly on public areas, but up compared to last year where deer are brought in mostly by private land hunters. A growing trend toward passing younger bucks seems to be continuing around much of the region.
Each year, DNRE Wildlife Division staff working at check stations around the state submit impressions and a summary of comments provided by hunters from the first few days of the firearm season. These impressions provide an early view of how the firearm season is faring. Deer populations in both northern regions have come through a mild 2009-2010 winter, but are still recovering from two relatively severe prior winters. A very late corn harvest and warm weather throughout the state also contributed to a slow 2009 firearm season, particularly in the southern region.
Firearm deer season continues through Nov. 30 with archery season resuming Dec. 1. For more information about hunting opportunities in Michigan, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting.. To receive timely information on deer hunting season, follow the DNRE Wildlife Division’s Twitter feed at MDNREWildlife at www.twitter.com.