At first glance, Michigans 2014 deer harvest estimates that were released last week are startling.
Wildlife managers say the deer harvest was down 15 percent statewide and the hunting effort declined 19 percent.
That marks the second consecutive year in Michigans deer harvest. (Indiana saw a 4 percent decline in its stats released in April.)
What is going on?
Well, just be glad you hunt southern Michigan. The biggest drop occurred in the Upper Peninsula where harvest plummeted 25 percent and that certainly skews the state numbers. The northern Lower Peninsula wasnt much better.
(Provided by Indiana DNR)
Indiana hunters harvested 120,073 deer in the 2014 season, a decrease from the previous two years.
The DNR says that was by design to reduce the deer population.
"Several years ago, we modified our management strategy to focus deer herd reduction in a strategically targeted manner to more adequately balance ecological, recreational and economic needs of Indiana citizens," said Mitch Marcus, chief wildlife biologist for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. "We are no longer managing for a stable to increasing deer herd, so the declines in harvest are expected."
The 2014 total was a 4.4 percent drop from 2013 and an 11.9 percent drop from the all-time record harvest of 136,248 deer in 2012.
To view the full report, go to www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/ and locate ì2014 Deer Reportî in the Hunting & Trapping panel.
The 2014 season was composed of three statewide segments ñ archery (Oct. 1 to Jan. 4, 2015), firearms (Nov. 15-30), and muzzleloader (Dec. 7-21). A late antlerless season was available from Dec. 6 to Jan. 4, 2015 in 63 counties. Additionally, licensed youth age 17 or younger were eligible to participate in a two-day season in late September, and designated urban zones allowed archery or crossbow hunting from Sept. 15 through Jan. 31, 2015.