By Louie Stout

Biologists Predict Better Season for Gun Hunters in Both States

If archery season is an indicator as to hunting prospects for this week’s firearms season, the 2018 deer season could be a very good one.

Michigan’s firearms season opens Thursday while Indiana’s kicks off Saturday.

The bow harvest has been up in Indiana and Michigan which suggests the deer herd is up. Of course, conditions have been pretty good for a fall hunt and crops have been coming out of the fields, both factors that improve hunters’ chances of getting a deer.

Indiana deer biologist Joe Caudell said official harvest numbers for St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, LaPorte and Kosciusko counties show more deer killed (1,491) by this year’s bow hunters through last week than last year (1,312) or in 2016 (1,204) during the same period.

“I noticed the antlered harvest is up from the last couple years as well,” Caudell said.

By Louie Stout

Got more deer meat than you need? Consider donating your next deer to the “Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger” program or “Indiana’s Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.”

Participating nearby Indiana processors are Jaworski Market in South Bend (574-297-0091), Slabaugh Meat in Nappanee (574-773-0381), John’s Butcher Shop in Nappanee (574-773-4632), Martin’s Custom Butchering in Wakarusa (574-862-2982).

In Michigan’s Cass County, Vlasicak Meat Market (269-445-8763) in Cassopolis is accepting donations. Most of the processors will handle the processing at no charge or you can donate a portion of your next deer to the program.

By CALEB ECKLOFF, Michigan DNR

The Aging Process: How and Why Deer are Aged at DNR Check Stations

Whether for fun or to better judge preferable animals to target, many hunters have an interest in the ability to age white-tailed deer, whether on the hoof or in hand.

Each fall, as successful hunters bring their deer in to be registered at Michigan Department of Natural Resources check stations across the state, many of these men and women watch carefully as DNR wildlife technicians and biologists age deer based on characteristics of the animals teeth.

The DNR uses the age of harvested animals - not exclusively deer - to model species age structure with the intent to better manage wildlife.

Furbearers, such as black bears and bobcats, are aged by removing a tooth and sectioning the tooth to count the layers of cementum, which is a specific part of each tooth that is deposited annually.

Like the rings of a tree, annual cementum deposits may be counted to determine the age of the tooth and, by extension, the age of the animal.