The 2022 deer hunting season has officially come to a close.
It was a year of firsts in 2022, highlighted by the requirement that successful hunters report their deer harvest within 72 hours. Because of declining response rates with the traditional deer hunter survey, Michigan joined many other states in requiring deer harvests to be reported, which should improve harvest estimates and the timeliness of deer season reports in the future. Supporting the new harvest reporting process was the launch of the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app, which allows hunters to purchase licenses, manage hunt drawings, get important updates from the DNR, report harvests, and more.
For 2022, 586,595 hunters purchased a deer license, which is about 1% less than in 2021. The first year of electronic harvest reporting resulted in a reported harvest total of 303,087 deer. Sanilac County led the state with a reported 8,150 deer harvested, followed by Montcalm (8,103), Newaygo (7,422), Jackson (7,141) and Lapeer (6,976) counties. There were 182,586 deer reported harvested in the southern Lower Peninsula, 97,714 reported from the northern Lower Peninsula and 22,787 reported from the Upper Peninsula.
Michiana Outdoors News Area harvest numbers of each county, with antlerless deer show in parenthesis, are: Jackson 7,117 (4,135), Calhoun 6,057 (3,462), Branch 4,316 (2,288), Van Buren 4,521 (2,543), Kalamazoo 3,717 (2,155), St. Joseph 3,536 (1,779), Cass 3,314 (1,821) and Berrien 2,835 (2,543).
There is a full harvest report summary dashboard that contains all the antlered and antlerless harvest statistics by county and season for anyone wanting to look at how things rounded out in their neck of the woods.
Unsurprisingly, the most harvest reports came during the firearm season, with 154,598 deer reported taken Nov. 15-30. Interestingly, 45,834 deer were reported taken on opening day of firearm season, translating to nearly 30% of the firearm season harvest and over 15% of the overall deer season harvest. The total reported for archery season was 95,125 deer. The combined total of harvest reports in firearm and archery seasons, 250,083 deer, made up 82.5% of the total harvest.
As hundreds of thousands of hunters head into the field with Michigan’s firearm deer season, the DNR encourages them to help hungry families in their community by donating a deer to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger.
“Hunters who donate a deer will help local communities in need by providing them with highly desirable venison meals,” said Joe Presgrove, public outreach analyst in the DNR Marketing and Outreach Division who coordinates the department’s partnership with Michigan Sportsman Against Hunger.
Michigan’s annual deer hunting seasons – to many, as much a fall tradition as football, apple cider and pumpkin patches – are once again underway.
Starting with the fall 2022 deer seasons, all hunters who successfully take a deer are required to report it through the DNR’s online harvest reporting system.
This new reporting system is something many hunters have been requesting for several years. During this first fall with mandatory online reporting, conservation officers will focus on educating hunters on the new process, rather than issuing tickets, then begin enforcement next year.
Since the 1950s, the DNR has gathered deer harvest information by mailing surveys to a sample of hunters.
“The new system represents a major change for all Michigan hunters,” DNR deer, elk and moose management specialist Chad Stewart said. “The system will provide us a near real-time estimate of deer harvest as it occurs, something Michigan has never experienced before.”
One of the most important reasons for the move to online harvest reporting, according to Stewart, is more data.
By Louie Stout
If you have a lot of hunting friends on social media, you know that the bow season produced a lot of nice bucks.
Will we see the same during the gun season that opened Saturday in Indiana and begins Tuesday in Michigan?
We always do, and that should include a few giant bucks getting knocked down by fortunate hunters.
Based upon mandatory harvest reports compiled by Michigan for the first time this season, there have been nearly 86,800 deer taken in that state through Friday. Buck harvest in border counties included 544 in Berrien, 565 in Cass, 527 in St. Joseph, 668 in Branch and 1,058 in Hillsdale.
In Indiana, 28260 deer have been harvested as of Friday with 11,407 of them being antlered bucks, slightly behind last year’s buck harvest for the same period of time. Northern Indiana border county buck harvests are Lake (157), Porter (157), LaPorte (232), St. Joseph (165), Elkhart (266), LaGrange (336) and Stueben ((350).
Hunters can expect excellent conditions for the 2022 firearm deer season, which begins Nov. 15. To ensure a safe season, too, Michigan DNR conservation officers are sharing best practices and tips to avoid the most common violations and mistakes they see every year.
“Most of the violations conservation officers encounter during firearm deer season are simple mistakes people make when they get caught up in the excitement of the hunt or forget to put safety first,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Our top priority is keeping people safe, so they have a good story to tell friends and family about their successful hunt.”
Here are 10 best practices for hunters to remember:
1 – Properly tag your deer
Before field-dressing or moving a deer, kill tags should be filled out (including the month and date the deer was taken and the deer’s gender and number of antler points) and properly placed on the deer. Conservation officers often see the wrong kill tag on game – such as fish or turkey licenses on deer. Often, this is a simple mistake made in the dark and can be corrected by re-tagging the deer as soon as you notice the error.
Remember, too, that reporting your deer within 72 hours of harvest is just as important as tagging it. Everything hunters need to know is available on the DNR’s harvest reporting webpage.