The Michigan DNR says it expects deer hunting season to be bigger than it was last year. Photo via Michigan DNR
The Michigan DNR says it expects deer hunting season to be bigger than it was last year.

Changes are coming to make deer hunting more accessible.

The Michigan DNR is preparing for an even bigger hunting season than usual this year, while also proposing changes that will make hunting even more accessible for the 2021 season.

“Our firearm season is the most popular season by far that we have in Michigan” said Ashley Autenrieth, a Deer Program Biologist with the DNR.

“We are expecting a bump up from last year. We do anticipate more people in the woods taking advantage of it and we are expecting a lot of successful hunters.

“The deer herd is shaping up to be a big one this year.”

Last year, over 540,000 Michiganders participated during hunting season, and Autenrieth is expecting an even bigger turnout for 2021.

To learn more about the 2020 hunting season, check out the DNR’s 2020 Hunting Digests, which include guides for hunting deer, elk, turkey, waterfowl, bear and more.

DNR Seeks Input from Michiganders on Proposed 2021 Changes

This month new 2021 deer hunting regulations designed to make hunting more accessible from the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula were presented by Autenrieth at a Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.

Among the proposed changes are:

  • The addition of a new anterless hunting license that would allow Michiganders to purchase an antlerless license, valid anywhere in the Lower Peninsula and select areas of the Upper Peninsula on either public or private land 
  • The elimination of a sunset clause on an extended archery season in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties that would keep archery season in these three counties until January 31 (the rest of the state ends on January 1) 
  • The addition of an online deer harvesting registration in 2021, with the goal of making registration mandatory for the 2022 season as it currently is in other Midwestern states. The change is being advocated for expanded communication and to receive feedback from Michigan hunters.
  • The addition of a late crossbow season in the Upper Peninsula
  • No longer requiring a permit for supplemental feeding in the Upper Peninsula, while extending dates during which supplemental feeding can occur and requiring that all recreational feeding be limited to two gallons per calendar day and two gallons at any one time.

According to DNR Public Information Officer Ed Golder, the topic was presented at a recent meeting, but no vote was taken.

These regulations will be on the agenda for action at next month’s meeting on December 10.

Until then, Michiganders are encouraged to submit their feedback on the proposed regulations via email at Wildlife@Michigan.gov.

The NRC’s next meeting, as well as previous  meetings, can be seen virtually on Michigan.gov here.

Additional information on the proposed changes can also be found here.

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