I just saw this new online petition that will be delivered to the Michigan DNR and it got me to thinking:
Limit buck kill to one per year, end all special seasons…begin hunting with Archery October 1st…change Gun Season to 3 day hunt starting on first Friday in December annually…
To put an end, once and for all, to the gross mismanagement of the deer herd in the name of revenues. Too many immature bucks and too many does are harvested annually because of overzealous resource commissioners making laws with revenues in the forefront, manipulation of herd numbers to reach financial goals, and to pander to the insurance lobby. The creation of youth seasons, no age-limit hunting, liberal crossbow rules and endless doe tags are the catalysts to the issue.
Michigan has the tools and raw materials to create a mature buck paradise while increasing hunter satisfaction without emptying hunters’ freezers. If you care about deer hunting in Michigan, you should support these changes.
When I saw the petition it was just posted and had only 233 supporters. But for years a growing number of Michigan hunters have been disenchanted with the way the DNR is managing the state’s deer herd. This has been simmering awhile; we’ll see how many signatures the petition gets, and how large the movement grows.
I neither live nor hunt in Michigan, though one day I hope to (hunt that is, not live, too cold). But I have hunted in many states with lots of varying management practices and laws, so I feel compelled and competent to toss in my two cents.
First, I can’t say whether limiting the kill to one buck per year per hunter is right for Michigan, but no doubt it has helped protect immature bucks and increase the age-structure of bucks in states like Kansas and Minnesota (many zones). No denying that.
I love gun hunting in the rut, but again there is no denying that moving the firearms season back to December and shortening it (i.e. Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin) would save a lot of rut-wild bucks, both immature and mature, in any state. But 3 days is too short and not practical. A week in December maybe, but I can’t imagine any state with only 3 days of gun hunting to get your buck.
Have hunters been shooting too many does in Michigan? That is something that needs to be looked at. As I have pointed out here on BIG DEER before, many states in the Midwest and elsewhere need to re-evaluate the number of does tags issued. The good old days of hunters shooting 5 or more does a season are gone, or should be, until we re-evaluate our management goals and rebuild our whitetail herds.
Now to some things I do not like in that petition. First off, it’s short-sighted and greedy to imply that Michigan (or any state) should not hold a short youth-only deer season each fall. To the contrary, special youth seasons are a must because we constantly need to recruit kids into our ranks. Moreover, if a boy or girl shoots a spike or 4-point for his or her first buck, great! We should be happy for those kids, not grumbling that they are taking a potential shooter buck out of the pool.
And the implication that allowing the crossbow in archery season is somehow impacting the deer herd is old news and a red herring. I have been following and writing about the crossbow debate for more than a decade; study after study (including this one from Michigan) shows that liberalized crossbow usage has not impacted the deer herd or harvest, but in fact has gone a long way to keeping older bowhunters in the woods and active.
In summary, this petition raises some legit points. Whether or not Michigan, or any state for that matter, should go to a one-buck rule and restrict the number of doe tags issued is a good and healthy discussion that we need to have in the whitetail world these days. But I must say to the petitioners that using terms like “overzealous commissioners” and “pandering to the insurance lobby” does your cause no good. To the contrary, the contentiousness it creates poisons the well and weakens your arguments.
What do you think, not only about in Michigan but where you hunt? To improve the age-structure of the bucks in your region and in theory increase your chances of seeing a 4-year-old with a big rack, would you support one-buck a year only (you could shoot him in either archery season or gun season, but just one total)?
I spend a LOT OF MONEY on my leases each year and don’t want it to be a one buck state. Several years I don’t shoot a buck let alone 2 bucks so on the better years I want the ability to shoot 2 bucks. One of the reasons I spend upwards of 10k on leases is to have the ability to pass smaller bucks. I would like to see a reduction in the doe tags, and the extra seasons. Kentucky is a 2 buck state and they do just fine.
Scientific deer management works. Any wildlife management by emotional mandate (which many of these comments reflect) will lead to disaster.
I have hunted in many 1 buck states and I really feel like the deer are bigger! That would be awesome and it’s a win win for the state bigger bucks for us hunters, and more money from out of staters for the state!
sounds sound to me. i like your argument.i always take 2 to 4 per year an only 1 is 8 or better got to keep numbers down here.It may make sense to some but most in mich are nubies when it comes to big deer.
Have hunted in MI my whole life, both public and private land where I have been able to obtain permission. I would strongly support a 1 buck rule per season, w/ preference that it have an outside spread beyond the ears. I am strongly in favor of youth seasons ending at age 14 as children are now often hunting by age 8 or 9. I would also agree that moving gun season to Dec and having a one week gun season followed by a one week muzzleloader season would be a good move for the deer herd. I also agree that we hurt our cause when ascribing nefarious intentions to insurance companies, DNR, or anyone else other than anti-hunters. These are my opinions. They are based on personal experience, a very limited sampling of hunting acquaintences, readings, and emotion. I don’t have any sound data/studies to back my opinions up. I’m open to being persuaded by good data that going another route is better for the deer herd. I don’t begrude anyone the opportunity to harvest a beautiful animal because it’s done in a season I’m unable or choose not to participate in. That opportunity is one of the driving forces for all of us and I don’t think should be limited by anything other than what’s best for the deer herd itself. That means we all may have to give up something, or have opportunities limited. We’re often all for something as long as it impacts somebody else, as soon as it impacts us personally then we start looking for somebody/something to blame. We are all entitled to our opinions but, again, we don’t do ourselves any favors when we spout opinions as irrefutable facts.
One buck ok. Cut out all special hunts and leave bow&gun alone. Oct 1 for bow.
Nov.15 for gun. As always.
We need to go to 1 buck and only shot does for the youth hunt and all the other special hunts. Also stop with all the farming permits, some farmers can get up to a 50-100 permits. I’m in a wheelchair and I can hunt 6 days with a gun know if I want before gun season, it use to be only 2. Muzzleloader season once was only for a few days, know it is longer then gun season. We also need to start having to check deer in so the DNR know how many deer are getting harvest in each county, plus it would help with deer being poached.
Speaking from a state which has had 1 buck rule for about 10 years, I love it. Indiana used to be a state where if there was a bone n it’s head, shoot it dead was the rule. Since the 1 buck rule went in, the sightings of 16″ 8 pointers have become commonplace, not rare like before. Much bigger bucks are also in the picture since the young bucks aren’t filling archery tags and then people can still shoot a good one with a gun. Makes a huge difference, no matter what the experts say. Get on your lawmakers and get it put into place. You will be glad you did
All you MI hunters need to do if you want to see failed deer management is look at Pa. Doe can be hunted from Sept. 1 st – Jan 31 in some areas you can buy an unlimited amount of doe tags but most the state you can easily get two.
1 buck a year 3 pts in most of the state and 4 in the western counties
We have an early Jr’s and Sr’s doe season, any deer for 7 weeks of archery, buck or doe in most of the state with rifle for 2 weeks and a 3 week any deer MZ and archery season after Christmas during which you can use your unfilled buck tag for a doe.
DMAP (deer management anterless permits) can be had from any landowner willing to take tje time to apply for them and handed out to whomever he wishes.
In short our deer herd sucks now! I’ve been at it for 50 years in Pa and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it right now.
You don’t have to convince me Big Daddy.
I have family in Pa.
One thing for sure is, politics and money is the wrong way to go about managing the deer population.
I’m born and raised in Michigan. I’ve been hunting here for 33 years. The rules and regulations seem to change every year. And not always for the better. This past season we were required to purchase a “base license “. It alows you to hunt small game. So if you want to deer hunt only, you still have to purchase the base license.
I’m all for getting the youth involved but… We now have a mentored youth program. The age requirement for that is 0-9 years old. We also have a youth hunt. So between those two hunts a youth can hunt from the age of zero up to 16. Its an early season hunt and I see year after year the same youth harvesting those 2.5 to 3.5 year old bucks when they are most easily patterned in September. Then factor in the slobs who choose to poach as many bucks as the want. Between youth hunts, mentored hunts, bow season, gun season, muzzleloader season and late antlerless season we have a solid 3 months to hunt. I’m not sure how it is now, but at one point a person could purchase one doe permit a day. So if one was inclined to do so, they could legally harvest 90+ deer a year. Something needs to change but I don’t have the answer to that.
I do know that I would like to see more CO’s on patrol, and some severe fines for those slob poachers.
I honestly don’t know how this wouldn’t pass. Almost all the guys I know and talk to that deer hunt Have wanted to do something like this for a long time.
A three day season sounds crazy……………it almost sound like PETA is asking for this. I think deer herds are down due to EHD and a few bad winters. I agree that the doe tags are to liberal but at the same time me and my friends only shoot one doe per year at the most all though we can take as many as we have tags for in Illinois. The Illinois gun season is only seven days and it is broken up with a three day season and a four day season. I can’t even imagine a three day gun season only, where is the fun in that? We all need more than three days away from the wife or girlfriend to spend at deer camp. I’m glad a bow hunt to get the extra time in hunting but I know there are many hunters that only gun hunt and we all need to stick together. Three days only……….horse-hocky.
I’ve been saying this for years, been deer hunting in MI for about 24 years now and can say that we absolutely need to do something to manage the deer heard and buck age structure. When you look at all of our surrounding states on the QDMA Boone & Crockett map you can clearly see that we are lacking in buck age structure. Look at the line between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, big change. I think a one buck rule would be great if not stronger antler restrictions. Look what it did for Indiana after they switched to one buck in the early 2000’s. Also im not so sure to many does are getting shot. I talk to guys all the time that don’t care if they shoot a spike or 4pt because the want meat for the freezer but i asked them about shooting a doe then and they don’t care to shoot them for some reason. To each their own but if you just want meat for the freezer shoot a doe, plenty of them around if you ask me. I don’t agree with some of these other things. We need to keep a youth season and they should be able to shoot a spike or 4pt for their first buck if they like. We need to shorten up the gun season but 3 days will not be enough either. A week would be fine and one week of black powder. Right now we have two full weeks of rifle and a week later two full weeks of black powder. That’s too much and can be scaled back in my opinion. If you see a 2.5 year old by us you have yourself a great shooter and 3.5 is nearly unheard of. Pretty crazy when the average buck shot is 1.5 years old and you can shoot 2 of them as long as one has 4 points on one side. Which we have a decent amount of 1.5 year old 8 pts by us so it does happen. I’m ready for a change
Agree with what you said about does:
My family is from Michigan (still lives there) and I hunt there from time to time. From what I’ve seen, the majority of the older generation refuse to shoot does, and then come back to camp with a yearling 4pt.
I’d say the buck to doe ratio around where they hunt is 1×10…not ideal.
petition is up to 2,000 for one buck only
Sounds like someone (petitioner) had a target archery buck shot on a neighboring property during gun season!
It would definitely mix things up, which is needed…but this is too extreme as a first step. One buck is fine. 3 day gun season will never fly.
Take this petition erase the word (s) Michigan and insert Pennsylvaniaand I along with nearly a million of Pa’s hunters will sign it.
The 1990 method of deer management has been proven flawed. Worse yet is using anterless tags and additional seasons as a form of revenue. Here in Pa we were told that deer were the reason forests did not regenerate even though acid rain accounts for 99.9% of it according to every management agency except the PGC.
Now the Pa Game Commission is reaping millions of dollars annually from gas/oil drilling on their lands and still claim they are broke .