Archery deer hunting begins Oct. 1
Archery deer season opens statewide Oct. 1 and is open through Nov. 14, then reopens Dec. 1 through Jan. 1. Remember to be safe while hunting. Stay at least 6 feet from those outside your household and wash your hands often.
Review latest regulations in the 2020 Hunting Digest
Before you head into the field, be sure to check the latest hunting regulations in your area by looking at the 2020 Hunting Digest. The sections below refer to specific pages of the digest for more information on these topics.
New this year! Upper Peninsula hunters in several deer management units now can take an antlerless deer during the archery season. See pages 48 and 49.
Lower Peninsula hunters can harvest an antlered or antlerless deer with a deer or deer combo license during the archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons in all mainland Lower Peninsula deer management units, on both public and private lands. See pages 42 and 43.
Important reminders: baiting/feeding and antler point restrictions
Given chronic wasting disease, baiting and feeding deer is banned in the entire Lower Peninsula and the Core CWD Surveillance Area in the Upper Peninsula.
Antler point restrictions
Harvest a doe: antlerless deer hunting licenses available
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.
Harvesting does, which are the drivers of the deer population, is a key element in deer management. It is important to consider increasing doe harvest in areas with stable or overpopulated deer numbers to ensure that deer population numbers remain within healthy ranges. 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.
Leftover antlerless licenses
All remaining antlerless deer licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis until license quotas are met in each deer management unit. Current leftover license availability may be viewed at Michigan.gov/Deer.
Deer check stations and TB/CWD testing
This year, deer check station operations will look different. Resource shortages, both staffing and financial due to a declining hunter base and the COVID-19 pandemic, will result in reductions in check station and drop box locations, dates and hours operated, and number of deer heads that will be accepted for chronic wasting disease testing.
The DNR is focusing its CWD surveillance efforts in southern Jackson, southern Isabella and western Gratiot counties, and the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties). Deer heads from these areas will be accepted for CWD testing from Oct. 3 – Jan. 4. These are areas where CWD has been identified, but more information is needed to determine the extent of the disease.
Deer heads from Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties will be accepted for testing from Nov. 15-18 only.
If you wish to submit your deer for testing outside of these regions/time frames, your deer head can be submitted to a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved lab for testing. Hunters will be charged a fee to have their deer heads tested. Visit Michigan.gov/CWD and click on “For Hunters” for information about private labs conducting CWD testing.
To protect hunters and DNR staff, some check station procedures have been changed to make deer check stations safer for all. Hunters are required to wear masks to DNR deer check stations and to remember social distancing guidelines, staying 6 feet away from other individuals at the check station. You will be asked to remain in your vehicle at most check stations.
When submitting a deer head for CWD or TB testing at a DNR check station, have details ready about the county, township, range and section where your deer was harvested. Your deer head should also be removed, with 2-3 inches of the neck remaining. If you would like to keep your antlers, please remove those from the head, but bring them with you when you visit a check station so antler measurements can be taken.
Deer cooperator patches will be available only at DNR deer check stations, during check station hours of operation, while supplies last.
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