When people talk about hunting, they never mention Michigan as a state that they are DYING to hunt. Top states that they may mention include Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Isn’t that something? All different states that surround Michigan! Why? Because these states have decent DNR programs that are WORKING with them, not against them.
I live in what that State of Michigan considers a Bovine Tuberculosis Zone (TB zone). The deer in the area first become infected with TB from cows. In years past local farmers (in my area) were/are encourage(d) to harvest multiple deer that they felt might harm their cow herd. They would simple wait till the morning or late evening and *pop* *pop* *pop* slaughter the deer and then leave the carcasses on the side of the road for the DNR to pick up. This really puzzles me because didn’t the cows initially give the deer TB in the first place?!? If the deer didn’t have TB, was the meat donated to needy families? Sure makes a girl wonder… The TB problem is also a reason why the MI DNR cracked down on the baiting in Michigan. Baiting has since been reopened in most of the state EXCEPT for DMU 487 (the TB Zone.) Many individuals were upset by this. Why? Well essentially we have to follow a whole different set of rules than the rest of the state.
In the TB zone in particular the MI DNR encourages hunters to harvest up to 5 antlerless deer PER DAY. No wonder the deer population has drop significantly! We also have an early antlerless season AND a late antlerless season. So technically Michigan Deer hunting season runs from September 15th to January 1st. That’s a little over 4 months! And if you have neighbors like us, that LOVE to take advantage of that 3 month long, slaughter all the deer before you even get a chance to get out there. Trust me, you are lucky to see anything once bow season rolls around.
Michigan also does not follow QDMA guidelines for bucks. You can either purchase a one tag with the option to shot any buck you please, no matter what size his antlers are. Or you can buy two tags with certain restrictions your first buck must have at least 3 points on one side. The second buck you harvest must have at least 4points one side. Well that’s discouraging. Let’s say I am hunting with my two tags waiting for a bigger deer a small four point walks past and heads up the trail to my neighbors property. If my neighbor has the first tag option he can shot that four point that I just let go.
So you might be asking how would you run the DNR Miss Shawna? Well these are some my solutions.
- Either allow the whole state to bait or don’t. Don’t tell 6 counties in your state that “Oh we aren’t sure if TB is still a problem in your area so you still cannot bait”
- Eliminate the Early Antlerless deer season. This season already interferes with grouse season and black bear hunting.
- Get rid of the Late antlerless deer season. Do you know how many smarter, larger bucks lose their antlers in late December and are actually harvested because some people (ie.. our neighbors..) that didn’t know it was a buck.
- Lower your doe harvest quota. 5 tags are 3 tags to many in my opinion. 2 tags per person per year. Whether they hunt on private or public land.
- ANTLER RESTRICTIONS FOR EVERYBODY! How will we ever get major bucks that people only dream about hunting if we let any Wahoo shoot whatever he/she wants? Do you know how many potential nice 2.5 year old bucks I’ve seen strapped to the back of a truck that would have been a SUPER awesome buck next season.
- Work with hunters not against us
- Model our DNR program off of another successful states DNR.
I’m sure the MI DNR isn’t the only one that has issues, but I can tell you I am not a fan of what is happening in my state. And trust me I plan on doing everything in my power to change what is going on.
Tell me about your state? Is your DNR just as much of a pain?