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Early antlerless firearm deer season this weekend

Hunters eager to get a start on Michigan’s deer seasons will take to the woods this weekend, Sept. 21 to 22, for the early antlerless firearm season — open on private lands in select Lower Peninsula deer management units.

Page 40 of the 2019 Hunting Digest shows open DMUs.

“If you’re hunting in an area with high deer numbers or a disease-prevalent area, consider taking a doe this year to do your part in managing Michigan’s deer herd,” said Chad Stewart, deer, elk, and management specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Stewart said that, since does are the drivers of the deer population, doe harvest is key to herd management.

“It’s important to consider increasing doe harvest in areas with stable or over-populated deer numbers in order to keep deer numbers within healthy population ranges,” Stewart said. “This is especially crucial in known disease areas where deer numbers often need to be lowered to help minimize the future spread of the disease.”

To participate in this season, hunters must have a private-land antlerless deer license issued for the DMU in which they are hunting, or a deer management assistance permit valid for that DMU. A deer kill tag issued under the mentored youth license must be used to harvest an antlerless deer during the antlerless-only seasons.

Leftover antlerless deer licenses will be sold until license quotas are met in each DMU. Check license availability.

Hunters in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone also have the option to purchase a 40% discounted private-land antlerless license, but this license will expire Nov. 3.

Antlerless deer licenses can be purchased online or wherever licenses are sold.

Hunters interested in having their deer checked can see DNR deer check station hours and availability at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck. Anyone taking a deer in Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle or Roscommon counties is encouraged to submit their deer for bovine tuberculosis surveillance, too.

Questions? For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Deer or contact DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453.