From new regulations to dates to remember, we’ve got your guide for the 2020 season.
MICHIGAN — Deer hunting season begins next month and Michiganders are getting ready. A favorite past time in the Great Lakes State, as Michigan hunters bagged an average of 345,000 deer per year over a five-year period from 2014-2018, according to DeerandDeerHunting.com, creators of the annual Deer Hunters’ Almanac.
That ranked it number three in the nation behind Texas and Georgia.
For the 2020 season, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has approved a new package of deer regulations, designed to make hunting more accessible for people of all ages.
“These recommendations are aimed at making it easier for hunters of all ages and experience levels to enjoy a Michigan outdoor tradition, while at the same time facing the present and future challenges of managing the state’s abundant deer population,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk and moose program leader.
The new regulations were announced on July 17 following the Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s regular monthly meeting, which was conducted in an online and conference call format due to COVID-19 public health and safety concerns.
Statewide, the changes to this year’s season include:
- Liberty and Independence hunt qualifications have been altered to include deaf people
- Junior license holders (age 10-16), monitored youths (age 9 and younger) and apprentice license holders are exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons, in all deer management units (DMUs) and under all licenses, which includes both the regular and restricted tags on the deer combo license
- Antlerless deer are now allowed to be taken on the deer/deer combo license during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons in all Lower Peninsula DMVs. They may be taken during both the early and late antlerless seasons in the Lower Peninsula.
- Antlerless deer may also be pursued by Upper Peninsula archers in select DMUs. Full information will be available in the 2020 Hunting Digest, which is expected to be released at https://www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests in August.
“The regulations…will provide additional opportunities and cost savings for hunters and offer flexibility in how hunters pursue deer,” a press release from the DNR said.
“The DNR uses existing and projected data to gauge the impact of proposed regulations. The data shows that the projected changes will not have a significant negative effect on the deer herd of the quality of deer hunting.”
Hunting Season in Michigan 2020: Dates to Know
Hunting licenses provide nearly $61 million per year to conserve wildlife, public lands, and waters, according to the 2020 Antlerless Deer Digest, a PDF made available by the DNR that can be viewed here.
The early antlerless firearm season begins on September 19-20 of this year, according to the DNR’s website.
Other deer hunting season dates to remember are as follows:
- Liberty Hunt (a two-day hunt for youth and hunters with disabilities): Sept. 12-13, 2020
- Independence Hunt (a four-day firearm deer hunt including hunters with disabilities): Oct. 15-18
- Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1, with extended archery hunting through January 31 in Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties
- Regular Firearm: Nov. 15-30
- Muzzleloading: Dec. 4-13
- Late Antlerless Firearm: Dec. 14, 2020 – Jan.1, 2021