MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Wednesday morning was the start of the regular firearm deer season. For hunters this year, that means mandatory deer registration but the DNR notes there might not be that many deer this year.
The regular firearm opening day for deer season has been considered largely a holiday in the Upper Peninsula. Due to the inconsistent winters and change in the snow patterns the last couple of years, however, Wildlife Biologists are expecting numbers to go down with the deer population, and ultimately the number of hunters active this season.
“Our predictions are gonna see probably fewer deer this year. So we actually had two back-to-back severe winters for deer and we track that by looking at the snow load,” commented DNR Wildlife Biologist Brian Roell. Roell explained that if there are more than 12 inches of snow on the ground for more than 90 days, the winter rolls into a severe category for the population of deer.
“We’ve had two winters now that we’ve exceeded those 90-day mark and so that’s hard on the deer and that correlates into fawn birth rates, which is very important for deer and fawn survival,” continued Roell. Although deer numbers are receding, the number of predators is still consistent, creating an even bigger threat in the environment for deer.
“We’re probably recruiting fewer deer through the winter we got a reclining number of deer hunters, everything kind of plays into one big thing,” noted Roell. This year’s registration is mandatory, but hunters can still use stations like the one in Marquette to get their harvests weighed, aged, and registered.
“We used to collect biological data by measuring antlers aging the deer and all those kinds of things now it’s just kind of service folks can come on down if they’re still interested in knowing that age,” continued Roell.
The DNR also does have hunting patches available at the station, but only a limited supply.
Click here to register your deer or for more information on deer harvesting in the State of Michigan