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Dec. 8, 20008

CONTACT: Rod Clute or Hannah Hjelsand 517-373-1263, or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014

DNR Announces 2008 Firearm Deer Season Harvest Estimates

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the preliminary estimate of the white-tailed deer harvest during the 2008 firearm season.

Statewide, an estimated 272,000 deer were taken during the firearm season, and about 157,000 were antlered bucks and about 115,000 were antlerless deer. That compares with a 2007 estimated harvest of 273,000. However, there were significant shifts in where deer were taken.

In the Upper Peninsula, the early estimate is that hunters took about 32,000 deer, down 22 percent from last year's harvest of 41,000.

"Most reports indicated that hunting pressure was down noticeably in the UP this year," said Rodney Clute, DNR big- game specialist. "We anticipated a lower harvest in the UP due to the tougher winter there last year and that was a major factor, but lower hunter numbers and the change in rules for use of buck licenses probably contributed too."

In the northern Lower Peninsula (NLP), preliminary estimates indicate that about 91,000 deer were taken, up from about 85,000 last year. About 59,000 antlered bucks and 32,000 antlerless deer were estimated taken in the NLP.

Southern Lower Michigan (SLP) continued to dominate the deer harvest. In the SLP an estimated 149,000 deer were taken, about 75,000 of which were antlered bucks along with 74,000 antlerless deer.

The preliminary harvest estimate is based upon early check station results, license sales, employee reports of hunter effort and processor observations. Final harvest figures, which are based on a mail survey of more than 50,000 deer hunters, along with surveys submitted by hunters who report on the DNR's Web site, will not be available until July, 2009. Hunters wishing to report their harvest online can access it through the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason reminded hunters that there are still many opportunities for deer hunting this year. "The late archery season, muzzleloader seasons, and late firearm season in selected locations are great opportunities for deer hunting when fewer hunters are in the woods," he said.

The muzzleloading deer hunting season runs Dec. 5-14 in the UP, Dec. 12-21 in the NLP, and Dec. 5-21 in the SLP. The archery season runs from Dec. 1- Jan. 1 and the late firearm antlerless-only deer season runs from Dec. 22-Jan. 1 on private lands in 36 deer management units in the Lower Peninsula.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.
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