UPDATED NUMBERS: Michigan DNR, Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming give overview of 2022 firearm deer season

Gun line up at Wilderness sports Inc.
Gun line up at Wilderness sports Inc.(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:12 PM EST
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - The firearm deer season in Michigan ended Wednesday, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming say the season looked a little different this year.

DNR statistics, compiled from the beginning of deer hunting in September, show there have been slightly fewer hunters in the woods this fall. Compared to last year, there’s been a 0.9% decrease in the number of people getting deer kill tags statewide and a 1.2% decrease in the number of people buying licenses.

Year (thru Nov. 30)License BuyersHarvest Tags
Change (2021 to 2022)-1.2%-0.9%

The DNR said it expected to see fewer hunters as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Segments of the population that actually expanded during that time were youth and women,” said DNR spokesperson John Pepin. “We expected there to be an ebb to that trend once the pandemic was over with. We’ve seen that not only in license purchases but also in other things, too, like state park reservations.”

A co-owner of Wilderness Sports said he thinks sales were slightly down because of the cold weather.

“Sales this year for deer season are down a little bit,” said Wilderness Sports co-owner Raymond Sundquist. “I think there are fewer people in the woods. A lot of it has got to do with the weather we’ve had this year for deer season. We have the snow early before the season.”

The owners of Wilderness Sports said thanks to loyal customers, overall sales continue to be outstanding.

New this year, deer hunters are required to report their harvest within 72 hours. The latest DNR numbers from the firearm season show 12,160 antlered deer have been harvested in the U.P. and 3,294 antlerless deer.

In the U.P., Menominee County has the most deer harvested in both categories, with Delta County next in line. Because this is a new reporting system, the DNR says there’s no way to accurately compare harvest numbers to previous years.