Michigan DNR expects increased deer population for 2017 firearm season

Published: Oct. 31, 2017 at 8:09 PM EDT
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Early bowhunting season is more than half over, so that means firearm season is right around the corner.

After a couple of down years, the deer population looks to be making a comeback for the 2017 season.

"Last year we saw an increase to about 20,000 antlered deer harvested during the firearm deer season, and we're expecting another increase in the number of deer observations out on the landscape following several mild winters and favorable growing seasons," says Caleb Eckloff, a wildlife technician at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Early bowhunting season began on Oct. 1 and is currently running. Firearm season begins on Nov. 15.

In order to participate, hunters must buy a deer license or a deer combo license, which quantifies how many deer you're able to shoot. A deer license is a one kill tag, where you can harvest one antlered deer over all hunting seasons. A deer combo license is a two kill tag, where you can shoot two antlered deer over all hunting seasons. If you would like to shoot an antlerless deer, you must have an antlerless license for an open Deer Management Unit. There are only five DMUs in the south-central U.P.

If you're planning to shoot a deer, you will need a rifle or shotgun. In August, Marquette opened a new location of the U.P. franchise "Lake Michigan Armory" where you can actually feel out and touch guns before you purchase them.

"it's just nice to be able to come into a store and be able to handle a firearm and get some response back of what you're looking for and how the firearm operates and functions," says Scott Shimon, store manager at Marquette's Lake Michigan Armory.

Lake Michigan Armory also carries ammunition, cases, many models of shotguns and rifles, and other equipment for all your hunting needs. They also offer consignment and used guns if you do not want to purchase something new.

But as always when hunting and operating a firearm, safety is most important. Hunters must wear their hunter orange, which can be purchased at Lake Michigan Armory, and obey all safety parameters.

"There is a 450 ft. safety buffer zone around any occupied dwellings that must be observed while out hunting," Eckloff reminds hunters.

If you have any questions about firearm season or deer hunting in general, you can call the Michigan's Department of Natural Resources office or visit their website at www.michigan.gv/dnr.