Lansing, Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- The Quality Deer Management Association’s 2015 Annual Deer Report has been released and it provides a comprehensive status of today’s white-tailed deer management across the geographical range provided by respective state wildlife agencies.
The report compares kill statistics over years 2011 through 2013 from 36 states of the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast.
Interesting trends continue to evolve and Michigan has reversed course by actually shifting its focus from sheer numbers to stronger, healthier deer strategies, although disease and other factors have played a role in decreased numbers overall. It is important to remember that in 2003 many states, including Michigan, had deer herds above what their habitats could support, and were aggressively trying to reduce their deer herds.
As deer herds decline, the buck harvest drops too.
Statistics show that 20 of 37 states (54 percent) in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast shot fewer antlered bucks in 2013 than in 2012. Some states’ buck harvests have declined more than 40 percent during the past decade. Even more states’ antlerless harvests have declined by more than 40 percent during this time period.
Better, though, yearling buck harvest rates are at a record low, and the percentage of 3½-year-old and older bucks in the harvest is at a record high. Numerically, in the Midwest region, Michigan shot the most bucks (203,057) and also reported the most bucks per square mile (3.6). Interestingly, Michigan attained this while simultaneously reducing the percentage of yearling bucks in the harvest – declining 59 percent in 2011 to 47 percent in 2013.
For all regions, the average percentage of the antlered buck harvest that was 3½ years and older was 34 percent in 2013, making it the highest percentage of 3½-year-old or older bucks ever reported! Based on antler-point restrictions, whether self-imposed or mandated by law, Michigan is steadily decreasing the number of adolescent bucks killed, while increasing the percentage of older bucks killed.
Regionally, the Midwest killed 10 percent fewer antlerless deer in 2013 with Michigan’s totals dropping 8 percent in one year.
Early reports from the 2014-15 season aren’t favorable, but much of the bad news is beyond the control of hunters. Clearly, however, antler-point restrictions and overall hunter awareness relative to the advantages of good deer management are working, as we let deer grow to maturity.
If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to continue the positive aspects of quality deer management, make sure to attend the 2015 Michigan Deer & Turkey Expo at The Summit Sports and Ice Complex, 9410 Davis Hwy Dimondale, MI 48821, which runs Friday through Sunday next weekend. There you can meet the experts of the Quality Deer Management Association and join the common cause, if you are so inclined. Discount tickets are available online at www.deerinfo.com/Michigan.
About Glen Wunderlich Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).