The Upper Peninsula (UP) population
is slightly higher than last year. Statewide, hunters can expect
to see more fawns and fewer antlered bucks than last year. With
the very mild winter of last year, 1½-year-old bucks are expected
to have larger antlers and more antler points. Our
goal is to maintain a quality herd that is in balance with its
habitat to yield healthy bucks.Deer
in the UP experienced a moderate winter. Because of this, fawn
production was good resulting in a population increase of about
The deer herd in the northern LP is about 7 percent smaller than
it was in 2001. As in the UP, favorable winter conditions for
deer enhanced over winter survival of adults and increased fawn
survival. Antler development will be good in 1½-year-olds, and
deer weights should be good this fall. Because of the intentional
reduction in the population last year, about 8 percent fewer bucks
are expected to be taken this fall. The herd in this part of the
state was intentionally reduced from a peak in 1989.
The southern Michigan deer herd is down about 5 percent from 1999.
Deer hunters should see a good number of deer this year. With
the intentional reduction of the population in southern Michigan
during the past three years, about 14 percent fewer antlered bucks
are expected to be taken this fall. However, it appears that the
2003 herd remains above the desired level, with the number of
deer in southern Michigan exceeding public tolerance for damage.
The Department is responding to concerns of too many deer in this
part of the state with significant numbers of antlerless deer
hunting on private lands. Michigan Hunting should
produce some of the best white-tailed deer hunting in the nation
for both antlered and antlerless deer.