The 2018 elk hunting season stats are in, and the 2019 winter elk survey just wrapped up, providing a clear picture of where Michigan's elk population currently stands.
Hunt period 1, which targets elk outside of their traditional range, was 12 days long. From Aug. 28-31, Sept. 14-17 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 99 state hunters harvested 68 elk (28 bulls and 40 antlerless elk.) In addition, all three Pure Michigan Hunt winners were successful during the first hunt period.
During hunt period 2, Dec. 15-23, another 100 state hunters harvested 78 elk (30 bulls and 48 antlerless elk). All locations in the northern tip of the state are open to hunting for this later hunt.
In order for regulated hunting to assist in managing elk, Michigan's elk population first must be evaluated.
Preliminary results from the 2018 bear hunting season show hunters found success across Michigan’s bear hunting management zones.
“While we are still waiting for all data from check stations and hunter harvest surveys, it appears that we’ll be on track for good harvest numbers and success rates,” said DNR Bear and Wolf Program specialist Kevin Swanson. “It seems that weather and mast availability may have impacted the harvest in some areas, but these factors are natural defense mechanisms that reduce the harvest in certain years.”
For the 2018 hunting season, approximately 54,000 hunters applied for 7,140 bear hunting licenses, the same number of licenses that was available last year. In 2017, 1,691 bears were taken. This year, preliminary numbers appear to be slightly below the 1,500-target harvest.
“Bear hunting seasons have staggered openings across the state, so we have seasons that have been opening and closing since early September,” said Swanson. “All bears must be registered within 72 hours of harvest, so eventually we’ll have all that information, along with completed hunter harvest surveys, to give us great data regarding days of hunter effort and also success rates.”
See current bear hunting regulations at michigan.gov/bear.