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Michigan preliminary harvest total matches 2009

From the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

-- Initial estimates suggest Michigan firearm deer hunters killed about the same number of deer statewide in 2010 as in 2009.

Reports regarding deer harvest ranged widely, from significant increases in some locations to declines in others, potentially a result of concentration of deer around available mast crops.

Biologists estimate the harvest compared to 2009 was unchanged to up as much as 10 percent in both the Upper Peninsula and the Southern Lower Peninsula, and down 5 to 15 percent in the Northern Lower Peninsula.

Deer from throughout the state were reported to be in good condition, as indicated by improvements in antler development in all regions.

With mild conditions in the winter of 2009-2010, deer numbers in both northern regions look to be recovering from effects of prior winters. Hunter numbers appeared down, particularly on public land since firearm season's opening day fell on a Monday.

"Most deer hunters support maintaining season dates of Nov. 15 through 30, but we consistently see a drop in hunter numbers when the season opens on a Monday," said Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. "This may need to be discussed when we form Regional Deer Advisory Teams and engage conservation partners to discuss management goals."

Antlerless quotas were set the same or lower in the Upper Peninsula and western portion of the Northern Lower Peninsula.

"We emphasized the need for hunters to take does in the eastern portion of the Northern Lower Peninsula and much of the Southern Lower Peninsula," said DNRE Deer Program Leader Brent Rudolph. "Efforts to control bovine tuberculosis in deer continue in the Northeastern Lower Peninsula. Although deer numbers appear stable in much of the Southern Lower Peninsula, they're still higher than we'd like to see in many places."

Rudolph emphasized preliminary estimates will be replaced by final figures of harvest and participation from the annual mail survey completed once all deer seasons end. Preliminary estimates in 2009 suggested a decline of 10 to 20 percent from the prior season harvest, and the final mail survey results reflected a drop of 19.8 percent in the firearm kill.

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