deer hunting

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This is shaping up to be a disappointing season for firearm deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

An early-season storm and lake effect combined to dump more than three feet of snow in parts of the U.P. last week. 

Russ Mason is the chief of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. He says the deep snow is preventing hunters from reaching deer in the U.P.

“You would need a four-wheeler with tracks or a snow machine, and guys just aren’t prepared for that,” says Mason. “I expect the U.P. numbers are going to be way down this year.”

Farver has been deer hunting for a lifetime.
User Smudge 9000 / flickr.com

Floyd Farver's passion for hunting has spanned decades; at 103 years, he is the "oldest hunter" in the state, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Farver says his grandfather, a civil war veteran, taught him how to hunt more than 70 years ago. Since then, he has gathered countless stories and experiences in deer camp - some he's willing to share, others not so much.

In a conversation with Lydia Lohrer from the Detroit Free Press, Farver recounts his experience hunting during the years of the Great Depression:

“There were no deer in the southern peninsula in those days. We had to go north. We stayed in tents. No one could cook, so we ate mostly beans. And there were no deer. We thought they were mythical creatures,” he says, laughing. “When I finally got one I had to pinch myself.”

Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tens of thousands of deer hunters are in Michigan’s woods and fields this weekend.

Michigan’s firearms deer season started today.

Russ Mason is the chief of the wildlife division of the Michigan DNR. He says the herd is still recovering from a virus that killed thousands of deer in 2012.

“(Bow) hunters are having pretty good reports seeing bigger bucks than they expected to see otherwise,” says Mason.

Maria Morell / University of Michigan

With Michigan’s hunting season underway, one group of sportsmen is urging their fellow hunters to make a difference with each buck they bag.

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger connects hunters, processors and charities to help feed the hungry.

But how does a deer taken in Kalkaska wind up on the tables of hungry families?

Neal Easterbook, the vice president of MSAH, talks with us about the group.

Listen to the full interview above.

This weekend, tens of thousands of deer hunters are stalking Michigan’s woods.

In some parts of the state, hunters have to stop to count the points on a buck’s antlers before they pull the trigger.

State wildlife officials have expanded an ‘antler point restriction’ program into 12 Lower Peninsula counties.

This is a big day for thousands of Michigan deer hunters. It’s the beginning of bow season.

Hunters should expect to see more deer in southern Michigan this fall.

Last year, nearly 15 thousand deer died of Epizootic hemorrhagic disease or EHD.

The disease is spread to deer by small insects. It was the largest EHD outbreak in Michigan history.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed an overhaul to Michigan’s hunting and fishing fees. The new law raises many license fees starting next March, but greatly reduces the number of licenses available for sale.

Erin McDonough is with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. She says updating fees and streamlining the number and types of licenses was long overdue.

Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The state says it has confirmed an outbreak of an insect-spread disease among white-tail deer in Muskegon County.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University announced Monday that a deer has been found with epizootic hemorrhagic disease, known as EHD.

The DNR says it's the first confirmed outbreak this fall.

The department says a type of midge spreads the virus that causes EHD. It says the disease doesn't affect humans and venison from infected deer is safe to eat.

The DNR says infected deer can suffer extensive internal bleeding, lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow weaker, salivate excessively and lose consciousness. It says sick or dying deer often are found along or in bodies of water.

Hunters in much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula will have a cap on the number of deer they can take home this season. A disease that’s killing thousands of deer has prompted the state to enforce new hunting restrictions.

Last winter was unusually warm and that’s helped create fertile breeding ground for the biting fly that spreads Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. It has infected deer in a record 30 Michigan counties; killing at least 13,000 deer this year. EHD does not affect humans.

Brent Rudolph runs the deer and elk program at the Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan’s deer season has officially begun.

Thousands of archers took to the woods this morning to mark the start of bow season, which runs through November 14, then resumes from December 1 – January 1.

According to a state report, over 300,000 archers participated during last year’s ten week season.

Grant Fry of Lake Orion sent us a story as part of our culture project on the importance of hunting in his family.

Today is the first day mentored hunting licenses are available in Michigan for children 10 years-old and younger.

Fry shared his reflections on hunting in Michigan as a boy and a man (share your story here):

As a boy growing up in Northern Michigan, hunting season, especially firearms deer season was a tradition.

Going hunting that first time and taking your first deer were as important as getting your drivers’ license. The public schools closed as teachers and students went into the woods.

"Mister" is dropped in deer camp and you can address all the adults by their first name. The expectation is you are a man and you are expected to do a man's work and take on a man's responsibility.

That has been and continues to be passed down through the generations.

I've been out hunting on opening day of firearms season for 42 years.

The anticipation builds up at dinner the night before-listening and telling stories of past hunts and past hunters. Then, there’s getting up at 4:30 in the morning to a big breakfast and lots of coffee.

Seeing the joy on your son's face as he takes his first deer and appreciates the transition he's made and seeing him accept the responsibilities of becoming a man.

Work has forced me out of Northern Michigan.

I've lost contact with some friends. My two boys are even more distributed due to out of state work and can't always make it back to hunt.

It is a loss.

Officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources say the harvest from the 2011 firearm deer season "appears to have increased slightly compared to the 2010 season."

From a Michigan DNR press release:

Experiences can differ widely even within regions, but DNR biologists estimate the harvest compared to 2010 was unchanged to up perhaps 10 percent across the Upper Peninsula, likely increased in the Northern Lower Peninsula by as much as 10 percent, and the southern Lower Peninsula appeared down 5 to 10 percent.

The statement said deer populations in the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula are not as abundant as they were in the 1990's, but they seem to be increasing.

This year's firearm deer hunting season is off to a safe start. That's according to state officials who said no incidents related to injury or safety have been reported so far.

MLive.com reports:

User inc_hip / Flickr

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has lifted the deer-baiting ban in most of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.  The ban had been in effect since 2008 after cases of chronic wasting disease had been reported among Michigan deer.

Mary Dettloff is with the DNR. She says baiting can create problems for the health of deer herds:

(courtesy of astronautscholarship.org)

Baiting deer is the subject of lots of debate in Lansing this month. There’s a ban on feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula that could be lifted in June. The restriction was a response to the discovery of chronic wasting disease in one deer in 2008. But as Peter Payette reported for The Environment Report no more sick animals have been found and the pressure is growing to let hunters bait wild deer.