Mathews Inc.
Michigan Deer, Where the Heck are They??
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Contributors to this thread:
Wolverine 26-Nov-05
Ogoki 26-Nov-05
Bill in MI 26-Nov-05
Wolverine 26-Nov-05
Aluminum Slinger 26-Nov-05
Bou'bound 27-Nov-05
Trebarker 27-Nov-05
BOONE 27-Nov-05
bloodbrother 27-Nov-05
johnboy 27-Nov-05
bloodbrother 27-Nov-05
bloodbrother 27-Nov-05
Bou'bound 27-Nov-05
Bushbuck 28-Nov-05
Mighy Mouse 28-Nov-05
Gobblestopper 28-Nov-05
GDx 28-Nov-05
JayG 28-Nov-05
Dan In MI 28-Nov-05
hunter88 28-Nov-05
hunter88 28-Nov-05
arch 28-Nov-05
overtime 28-Nov-05
Mighy Mouse 28-Nov-05
BOONE 28-Nov-05
Bernie1 29-Nov-05
Bernie1 29-Nov-05
COPPERMAN 29-Nov-05
Gobblestopper 29-Nov-05
Wolverine 29-Nov-05
Gobblestopper 29-Nov-05
JayG 29-Nov-05
heartshot h 29-Nov-05
stickerpoint 29-Nov-05
Gutshot 29-Nov-05
Bill in MI 29-Nov-05
Wolverine 02-Dec-05
BOONE 02-Dec-05
Wolverine 02-Dec-05
Ron 02-Dec-05
ArrowShooter 02-Dec-05
Gutshot 03-Dec-05
Wolverine 03-Dec-05
Wolverine 09-Dec-05
Ontonagon Riverman 09-Dec-05
speed 09-Dec-05
JohnMC 13-Nov-21
JL 13-Nov-21
Missouribreaks 13-Nov-21
spike78 13-Nov-21
LOSTNwoods 14-Nov-21
scentman 14-Nov-21
Annony Mouse 14-Nov-21
Shuteye 18-Nov-21
Bowaddict 18-Nov-21
From: Wolverine
26-Nov-05
Where in the world are the deer in Michigan? I've hunted a lot of years and have never seen it so bad! The quantzxity isn't there and the quality is definitly leaving a lot to be desired. I think the DNR and Farm Bureau accomplished what they set out to do, desimate the deer heard!

What do you guys think about instituting a restriction on not being allowed to shoot any buck with less than three points on one side? This may at least increase the quality a bit. Anybody have suggestions on how to up the quality of our bucks?

Take care

From: Ogoki
26-Nov-05
In the area where I hunt in northwestern lower Michigan I have seen a drop in deer numbers in the past 4 years. When I first began hunting the area in 1996 I could not believe all the deer. Everytime I sat during bow season I would see plenty of deer. Gun season sounded like WWII . At that time the dairy farms in the area were issued block permits to control the high nimbers as the deer were really hitting them hard. In years of few acorns you had to be near the field to see deer. On public land or private 2 plus miles from the fields you would not see the deer. When they began issuing more public land permits and then they chaged the system where anyone could buy a private land doe permit the numbers of deer took a nosedive !!! I still know of one area of farmland where to doe numbers are high but I don't see any bucks there. I believe it would take morework on the DNR's part but if the does permits were issued on the block permit system the numbers that are causing farm damage could be check in check without taking down the whole herd. I am not a biologist but a concerned hunter. I believe I heard more shots on the opening of goose season this year than the first of rifle season. I passed on numerous does this year with my bow and all I have for my non-resident combo tag {$276} is tag soup. But I srill had a great time and was away from work.

From: Bill in MI
26-Nov-05
They hide well after opening day(s)

From: Wolverine
26-Nov-05
I know they can hide but I'm talken from day one, they have been far and few between. I hunt in northwest Michigan and I've never seen so few deer (Oxymoron) in all my time hunting. I think Mr. Cool and the rest of the DNR needs to get their heads out of their ..... and start listening to the hunters instead of just the insurance companies! I think it's all about going to another state next year, I'm done dinken around with this state!

26-Nov-05
I grew up in Michigan, and now live in Indiana. For years (4-6) I heard stories of the great number of deer my wife's relatives killed off thier property in the thumb. The last two years they've been crying about the lack of deer. Well, no kidding. Deer are not fish, the don't reproduce like rabbits. Just because you are allowed to kill a ton of deer doesn't mean you have to! Indiana is going the same route, you can kill an unsightly number of deer now (not all from the same county, it has to be spread out), but that doesn't mean we have to go out and clean up the woods!

AS

From: Bou'bound
27-Nov-05
AMEN

limit your take don't take your limit

From: Trebarker
27-Nov-05
Farm Bureau sure seems to be the driving force in alot of states concerning recent deer management changes. Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, and now Michigan.

What has been described here about Michigan sounds exactly like what has happened in Kansas the last 5 yrs, too many doe tags issued, supposedly to address overpopulation and too many car/deer accidents. In researching the subject, I have found that FB, other Agriculture lobbying groups, and Outfitters have all worked together to turn the deer into another cash crop. They were not after doe tags, nor did they want the deer herd reduced. Their goal was to get more liberal distribution of NR tags, increase NR buck tag quotas. Kansas State University, which is an Agricultural College, was involved as well giving seminars and distributing information on how farmers and ranchers could increase their incomes by selling hunts, transferrable landowner tags, and leasing out hunting habitat. They even encouraged the landowners to purchase or lease up all deer habitat quality land, to cash in on the demand to hunt here.

I am willing to bet alot of landowners and hunters in Michigan are members of Farm Bureau and are not aware they have helped destroy your deer population. Do some research on your recent deer hunting legislation, see who sponsored/supported the bills that called for more tags. You will find Farm Bureau was involved in every instance I bet.

From: BOONE
27-Nov-05
The population has definitely dropped since the late 80's, but I still passed up 24 different bucks this season so far. I hunt in the southwestern corner of the state. I think that the DNR has over stated populations for many years now in an effort to lower populations even more because their caving in to the farm Bureau. I hunt several different farms and we pick and choose how many deer we take from each area according to what we've seen in the past.

From: bloodbrother
27-Nov-05
I think the stupid DNR give out to many doe tags and all they want is money and I think they should only allow one buck tag. Also I think the QDM is stupid to isnt helping anything I think you need to take out the spikes and little bucks that wont grow to be sh#t. But there are to many people that just shot the first thing that comes in some we will never have a good buck to doe and wont have any nice bucks.and all you hear is the biggest bucks anyone is shooting are like 2-3 year old deer that are eights and they dont allow them to go to maturity.Also they shot get rid of all that crop damage bullsh#t. MONEY MONEY MONEY

From: johnboy
27-Nov-05
I believe the hunting is just getting a little tougher, maybe the deer are getting smarter. I hunt in the northern lower pennisula (where even the DNR says numbers are below where they want them) on public land and had one of my best archery seasons in years. I take one week off from work and in that week I saw 21 different deer while on stand and 3 different mature bucks(and 4 smaller probably 1 1/2 year olds). The biggest problem is the hunters in my party that rely to heavily on bait are not seeing deer and they are crying also about the DNR. I think you have to get away from bait and remember it is hunting not just shooting.

From: bloodbrother
27-Nov-05
Yeah DNR are useless

From: bloodbrother
27-Nov-05
Yeah DNR are useless

From: Bou'bound
27-Nov-05
if they outlawed baiting over time things would look up

From: Bushbuck
28-Nov-05
Honestly, what was the population in the 40's and 50's in Michigan. when did Michigan start the cutting program in strips all over the state ? this was the biggest boom for the state for the heard. what has been done since that time to increase the deer heard statewide since that time. This will most likely never be allowed to happen again.

From: Mighy Mouse
28-Nov-05
Bushbuck

Really Michigans deer herd wasn't all that great (numbers wise) back in the 40's and 50's. The issues that Michigan is dealing w/ right now started in the early 90's when the population was huge. In all hunting areas of the state there were deer everywhere. You saw good quantity and (in my opinion) the quality was fair as well. Then we had the TB scare and the DNR began to loosen the belt big time when it came to doe permits. For the last 7yrs or so (give or take a few) you could get doe permits over the counter every day until they ran out. People did just that and now we are seeing the effects. They have made some changes this year in area's which will hopefully help.

Our DNR has many people in its ear telling them what to do with the deer population. It is just a shame that the hunters voice is one of the last ones heard.

28-Nov-05
The problem is there are 750,000 licensed hunters and 700,000 of them shoot the first lgal year and a half old buck that comes by. Very few even luck into a 2 year old. I have all but given up in Michigan.

From: GDx
28-Nov-05
There are many problems in michigan. My thoughts on a few of them:

we don't need baiting

we don't need hunting shacks.

the distribution of of deer has changed. more deer are south where fewer people can hunt.

we don't need to use rifles.

the gun season starts too early.

make it even tougher, no more elevated platforms.

why does anyone need to shoot more than 2 bucks a year? combo license shoud be one doe and one buck, thats it. a 4 pt restriction here would help also.

i too used to see many more deer back when i was a kid. back then, you could only shoot one buck regardless of weapon. so many more guys bow hunt and gun hunt these days. gone are the days of plentiful land to hunt on.

From: JayG
28-Nov-05
I think the Michigan deer are hanging out with the Upstate NY deer. I think the are in Aruba or something,,,, 'cause they sure as heck aren't in the woods. Sad but true. Jay

From: Dan In MI
28-Nov-05
I get so tired of reading these where are the deer threads. The quotes of, I've been hunting Mi for a long time, usually ends up meaning "I started in the early 90's when the herd was at it's all time peak."

There are still a TON of deer out there. No, not one behind every tree like the early 90's, but still far more than the early 70's.

The herd has changed it's location since the 50's. The northern forests have matured to the point they won't support a large population like they once did.

Things change. Hunters are supposed to be adapatable. If they're not eating from your bait pile, quit baiting and actually go hunting.

End of rant

28-Nov-05
I have heard a lot of talk of the lower MI and not seeing the deeer #'s. If you think that's bad, try hunting many parts of the U.P.!!! My brother in law went the whole bow season and only saw 2 deer!! Now I think he had some very bad luck in there too but still... The Do Nothing Right is definately to blame...PERIOD! There is too many doe tags given out, too many bucks shot each season (cause most people shoot anything due to not seeing the amount of deer we once saw) and too many predator's. Now that I have mentioned predator's lets talk about the wolf. The wolf is with out question a very beautiful animal. The problem with wolves and deer in the U.P. is evident. Most people think that the wolves don't play a major impact on the deer herd including the Do Nothing Right (bla-bla-bla-bla-bla). BULLS#IT!! This angers me to no end. The deer migrate in the winter and go to their "yards". The wolves still need to feed and guess where they go as well, the "yards". No the problem is the wolves just kill to kill and eat a little of the deer then move on to the next deer. I personally have walked through some yards and have found 6 different dead deer within a 200 yard radius in a matter of ONLY 3 days. I better stop now before I get myself in trouble. The DNR is going to be sorry when they start finding dead wolves because of frustrated hunters. That is only a minor 2cents worth.

From: hunter88
28-Nov-05
Kill all wolves no need for them

From: hunter88
28-Nov-05
Yeah they should band baiting but you know more than half will still bait because thats the only way they can hunt. but yeah i would love them to band baiting it would help alot, but just dont know how the deer will act or take the reasalt of the not baiting so dont know if deer are depend on it.

From: arch
28-Nov-05
We practice QDM, and we are experiencing a huge increase in larger bucks on the farm we hunt. We do let the young bucks go--the spikes and forkies, which along with the buttons are generally next year's six and eight pointers. This is something we didn't used to do, but it's now paying dividends. We have allowed, that we know of, approximately 12 different small bucks walk. We have taken, so far this year four does, and we will take a few more in December. I harvested a 260# 8 pointer, and the farm owner's son took a 230# 8 pointer. We know from trail cams that there is still a large 10 point walking around. We are a grain crop farm with a large alfalfa field, bordered with woods and swamp. By letting the bucks get a tad older, everyone is enjoying the possibility for a nice one. By shooting more does than bucks, we ensure there is slightly more competition among the bucks and there is more sighting during the rut. Maybe QDM is crap, as some allude to, but good things are happening where I hunt in Michigan.

Arch

From: overtime
28-Nov-05
We as hunters have to limit what is taken. I hunt in both IN and MI and have 14 acres in MI where I live, was seeing 4 to 9 deer a day before gun season last two time out have seen none! The DNR puts out information that there are a lot of doe, so what does the hunter do blast the H*^# out of them. Good or bad we limit how many doe's we take. That is we don't shoot any does until ML season to get our meat for the year in the last five years we have taken two doe in the last twenty deer (3-4 per year) we have taken. Read that 2 doe will product 35 deer in seven years. So if everyone shoots a doe how many are reduced from the herd? I have talked to guy's that stated they took 3 deer 1 buck and 2 doe, asked how many they eat per year and their answer was 1, this killed me. Then they stated they hadn't seen many deer this year. To bad mother nature doesn't apply to people and get rid of the stupid ones first! Hunters have a chance to control our own destiny instead of killing everything that walks by let them go. For the gun hunters try and use only one shot to kill the animal!

From: Mighy Mouse
28-Nov-05
Man, where do all these Michiganders come from?!?!?! You guys should visit the State Conferences page and chime in over there a bit too. I see a lot of new names on this thread that I haven't seen before and are registered in Michigan.

I like the point that Overtime made about being constantly told we have too many does. It made people look at them like target practice for the last few years. I have nothing against taking does, but I hate to hear about these guys who take 5-6-7-10 of them a year. If what Overtime said is true about how many deer on doe will produce, is it any wonder those same people are now complaining about seeing less deer?

From: BOONE
28-Nov-05
I agree with "Dan in Mi.". We just have gotten spoiled to seeing so many deer over the years that if we don't see one on every outing then we think there aren't any left. I firmly believe in the old saying that 10% of the hunters take 90% of the deer. They are the ones wearing out the boots to find the deer.

From: Bernie1
29-Nov-05
I hunt in the northern lower. Last year I shoot 2 real nice 8 points almost P &Y. This year I had some problems missing deer. I missed a 10 point and a 8 point. Every one needs to quite complaining and learn how to hunt. Its true that almost every hunter in MI will shoot the first spike they see. But I take it as a challenge to take good bucks in the hardest hunted state. Also on one kill and one miss was on heavily hunted state land.

From: Bernie1
29-Nov-05

Bernie1's embedded Photo
Bernie1's embedded Photo
State land deer! I thought we only had spikes and forks up around the tip of the mitt!

From: COPPERMAN
29-Nov-05
YEp the Dnr has issued too many doe permits but we are the ones who pulled the trigger. I dont understand the people that shoot more deer than there family can possible consume. Four , five, or ten deer is crazy!

29-Nov-05
Bernie,

That is a great Michigan buck, but I don't want to hunt "almost" PnY deer. I have shot my share of 90-120" bucks around home. I would like to see some 4, 5, and 6 year old bucks. I paid a trespass fee in Kansas this year and in 9 days passed on 5 bucks ranging from 120 to 145 and saw 3 well over 160. Seeing what the hunting can be like it is very discouraging to see 20 out of 28 deer be year and a half old bucks on the firearm buck pole. I agree that a good hunter can see and shoot "decent" deer around here, BUT there just aren't many (if any) 130" or better deer. All we are lacking is age. I feel we have some of the best genetics there are and even though our agriculture is a little behind compared to say southern Michigan I think its enough to grow good deer. The first time you see a truely big mature whitetail you will be a changed man.

From: Wolverine
29-Nov-05
Hey Dan in MI, I've got a suggestion. If your tired of reading the "Where are the deer threads" then go take a nap and don't read'em! Just something to think about.

Back to the subject, why can't Michigan institute something like Pennsylvania has go'en to help increase the quality of the deer herds. It would probably help if they had the school bus drivers stop counting deer they see on their bus routes and having college kids take a census by counting the droppings in a square mile radius. Heck those college kids probably can't tell the difference between rabbit dung and deer!

What if the DNR required every hunter who purchases a license to fill out a survey the next year, indicating among other things where they hunted, if they were successful, what was the size of there deer, were they baiting, how many bucks, does and yearling's seen etc..... What better way to get a grip of what your herd looks like, than having the 3/4 of million people who were tromping through the woods telling you? This way you'd get feedback from the successful hunters and the unsuccessful instead of just doing surveys at the deer check stations. Seems like a plain and simple no brainer to me.

29-Nov-05
I think we should have mandatory deer checks, 1 buck per year, and move the gun season to Dec. 1st.

From: JayG
29-Nov-05
Alien abductions!!! Aliens have come down and taken them all,,,,, right along with the Upstate NY deer. They probably took them to provide breeding genes for some alien high fence, canned hunting operation in another galaxy... Just a thought. LOL Jay

From: heartshot h
29-Nov-05
all valid points...i believe in QDM and we practice it on my land, but remember QDM not only means potential big bucks but a HEALTHY DEER HERD...some people here QDM and get turned off because they think all we care about is big antlers...true the end result MAY result in big antlers, but it is not the ONLY reason for QDM...

heartshot

part time veterinarian, full time hunter...or is it the other way around????

From: stickerpoint
29-Nov-05
For those of you that say, do away with baiting, hunting shacks and rifles. I'm here to tell you, all three of those have been around for a very long time. Those things were here and around during the good ole days.

And we still had great deer numbers. Most of the blame should be on the DNR. I'm all for QDM, thats a big problem in our State as well.

From: Gutshot
29-Nov-05
Wolverine,

I know you trying to suggest some ideas for the DNR that'll increase the numbers and quality a bit, but I don't think that's what they want to do in the first place. An extremely population is a win win situation for the DNR. It keeps them from getting sued from the insurance companies, the farmers are happy and we keep buying licenses. Yes, we keep buying licenses! There may be a breaking point (I think I'm there now) where out of state hunting will become an option, but even with the low #'s, most hunters will still purchase a license next year in hopes that it'll improve. Most won't stop hunting. It's free money for the state. It doesn't take a lot to see that the deer numbers are down in your area. Just take a drive at prime time during the month of September and look in the hay fields. No deer grazing.

From: Bill in MI
29-Nov-05
I plan on hunting IL w/ a bow on a regular basis now. (do it yourself) As the amount of oppurtunities on nice bucks is incredible. I didn't see monsters but I consistantly saw 110"-120" deer. We were a week early and I know bigger deer were lurking.

Although I have decent spots in MI which in combination w/ letting small bucks walk has produced better sightings. The lure of a better buck to doe ratio and more populated age class's leads me to greener pastures.

Does that make sense? Bill in MI

From: Wolverine
02-Dec-05
Bill in MI, that makes perfect sense. I'm with a lot of other hunters who live in this state, out of here for greener pastures next year. I'm sure those pastures will be found in another state besides Michigan. Until this state wants to start promoting conservation efforts instead of chasing the almighty dollar and caving to insurance lobbyists, I going to explore alternative hunting venues!

From: BOONE
02-Dec-05
Bill, I too hunt Illinois on a regular basis, but even they have stuck it to us. I remember when the tag was 120.00. Now it's over 400.00 you just can't win some times!

From: Wolverine
02-Dec-05
Boonie, are you tell'en us it's $400 for a non resident deer tag in Illinois???? You have got to be kidding me!

Gutshot, are you go'en out muzzle loader hunting?

From: Ron
02-Dec-05
Heard IA. was going to try to raise it up to $450 next year. Welcome to the club.

From: ArrowShooter
02-Dec-05
I've lived in Michigan my whole life. Frankly, we have had too many deer for a lot of years. Shooting down the herd is a good thing. Too many car accidents, too much crop damage. I'm just about the only person I know who lives rural, has significant highway miles under his belt, and has not hit a deer with a car. (My neighbor broke the back of a spike buck just tonight prompting me to shoot, gut, and hang it for her.)

When I started hunting in the 70s, the herd was much smaller and hunting was harder. Today, it is a small matter to bag a deer. Complain all you want about the DNR, but the fact is that something needs to be done. If we allow the herd to continue to grow uncontrolled, density dependent diseases will destroy a huge portion of the herd. Then we'll see how our deer hunting goes.

As a suggestion, read the DNR's article on Deer Management in Michigan over the past 100 years. I think it is still up on the website. It may give you a different outlook on their policies and some of the wisdom behind them.

From: Gutshot
03-Dec-05
Wolverine,

No, I doubt that I'll go muzzleloader hunting this year. I spend too much time during the summer months shooting the bow and not sighting my muzzleloader in. I'd have to do that first before I hit the woods with it. Might as well just use my bow.

From: Wolverine
03-Dec-05
It's all a money make'n business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Wolverine
09-Dec-05
TTT

09-Dec-05
Here is my .02 cents, take as that, I started hunting in the early sixties and you were lucky to see a deer let alone harvest one, the herd was starting to prosper due to some logging the state had initiated. I hunt in the NW protion of the upper penniusla and in the late 90's saw a lot more deet then the habit could handle (big winter kill winter of 97). Were I hunt in the lower, same situation lot of deer but mild winters. This year had plenty of sighting in both and I must add the deer are healthy. Maybe we are seeing Quality not Quality???

From: speed
09-Dec-05
I live in the "Golden Trangle" of IL (West Central IL) and in 9 connecting counties, our gun season harvest dropped 10% in 2005 under 2004. This region has the highest deer density/harvest in the state.

IL too has been programming all hunters to take more and more does. FB is one of the leading insurance coverers in this region as well.

I have been arguing all season long that numbers are down but I meet with much opposition from those who have to most to lose. I beleive that too many doe permits are slowly taking the herd down.

From: JohnMC
13-Nov-21
So has it picked up yet?

From: JL
13-Nov-21
An old thread from the dumpster.

WRT to the question.....IMO....not for the public land hunters.

13-Nov-21
No matter what, there will always be complaining hunters.

From: spike78
13-Nov-21
The problem is some hunters hunt a spot every year and because it sucks a couple years later they think their are no deer. I believe some spots go in cycles good for a couple seasons then dead the next. I’ve seen a few spots here that suck this year but was loaded last year. It’s kind of like rotating cattle in a field.

From: LOSTNwoods
14-Nov-21
I’m blaming coyotes.

From: scentman
14-Nov-21
I live in NY and I believe they all fled the lib governers!

From: Annony Mouse
14-Nov-21
I miss MI deer seasons. Abandoned the state to retire to WY three seasons ago. I was a career lab scientist and applied much of the same views when it came to deer hunting. Living on a farm in Livingston county for over 30 years, I spent a lot of time studying and getting to know my local deer and saw behavior changes over the years. Maybe the problem isn't with the deer, but the politicians? Archery season used to be special. Then the handicapped crossbows expanded to become anyone can use one. Arrow rifles. Straight wall cartridge rifles.Special seasons of all sorts introduced into the "quiet" archery season. By the time November 15 comes around, there have been so many hunts and hunters that much of the herd has been spooked and abandon their normal behaviors.

That should certainly figure into how one views hunting in deer season.

From: Shuteye
18-Nov-21
When I used to bow hunt with my uncle he would not shoot a big buck. He let some monsters walk right by him He said they are great for breeding and the does and small bucks are far better eatin.'

From: Bowaddict
18-Nov-21
Annony mouse x2. Grew up on northern Livingston county line. Had good times archery hunting late 80’s early 90’s. Too many gun seasons of some kind September on now! Unfortunately my deer destination in Nebraska is beginning to show those same signs and the hunting is getting bad quickly!

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