Firearm deer season in west Michigan showing strong harvest totals

Photo of Scott Nunn
One Thumb county leads Michigan with the most deer harvested during firearm season.

One Thumb county leads Michigan with the most deer harvested during firearm season.

Marcia Straub/Getty Images

Seven days into the firearm deer season in Michigan, and harvest totals are showing significant numbers of deer harvested in west Michigan and beyond.

This year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources placed a significant change on hunters, requiring deer harvests to be reported within 72 hours of tagging the animal, or before transferring possession of the animal to another party, such as a processor or taxidermist.

Three days into the firearm season, the DNR was reporting 163,745 deer had been harvested. Now, a week after opening day, that number has swelled to 208,027 — meaning an estimated 44,282 deer have been harvested so far during firearm season.

According to the DNR's report, Montcalm County leads the state with 5,472 deer harvested. 

However, other west Michigan counties also saw significant harvest totals so far this deer season. Out of 83 counties in the state, half of the northwest Michigan counties ranked in the upper half of the totals.

Here's how the northwest Michigan counties have fared this hunting season, as of Nov. 22:

  • Montcalm County: 4,064 antlered, 1,418 antlerless, 5,482 total
  • Newaygo County: 3,222 antlered, 1,902 antlerless, 5,124 total
  • Oceana County: 2,140 antlered, 1,364 antlerless, 3,504 total
  • Osceola County: 2,235 antlered, 1,209 antlerless, 3,444 total
  • Mason County: 1,886 antlered, 1,384 antlerless, 3,270 total
  • Lake County: 1,163 antlered, 1,226 antlerless, 2,389 total
  • Manistee County: 1,286 antlered, 994 antlerless, 2,280 total
  • Missaukee County: 1,282 antlered, 870 antlerless, 2,152 total
  • Wexford County: 1,013 antlered, 698 antlerless, 1,711 total
  • Grand Traverse County: 882 antlered, 701 antlerless, 1,583 total
  • Antrim County: 1,012 antlered, 522 antlerless, 1,534 total
  • Kalkaska County: 794 antlered, 623 antlerless, 1,417 total
  • Charlevoix County: 741 antlered, 379 antlerless, 1,120 total
  • Benzie County: 631 antlered, 382 antlerless, 1,013 total
  • Leelanau County: 612 antlered, 291 antlerless, 903 total
  • Emmet County: 584 antlered, 300 antlerless, 884 total

Some regions of the state saw significant improvements to their harvest totals when looking at only the firearm deer season. In northwest Michigan, the order stayed mostly consistent, but some of the counties were outperformed by other parts of the state. Six of the northwest Michigan counties remained in the upper half of the total deer harvests so far this firearm season. Sanilac County currently leads the state with 2,842 total deer harvested during the regular firearm season.

Here are the total deer harvests reported for mid-Michigan during the regular firearm season so far:

  • Montcalm County: 1,965 antlered, 798 antlerless, 2,763 total
  • Newaygo County: 1,603 antlered, 990 antlerless, 2,593 total
  • Oceana County: 1,106 antlered, 784 antlerless, 1,890 total
  • Osceola County: 1,194 antlered, 688 antlerless, 1,882 total
  • Mason County: 892 antlered, 777 antlerless, 1,669 total
  • Missaukee County: 759 antlered, 515 antlerless, 1,274 total
  • Manistee County: 671 antlered, 552 antlerless, 1,223 total
  • Lake County: 533 antlered, 623 antlerless, 1,156 total
  • Wexford County: 571 antlered, 430 antlerless, 1,001 total
  • Antrim County: 615 antlered, 295 antlerless, 910 total
  • Kalkaska County: 465 antlered, 379 antlerless, 844 total
  • Grand Traverse County: 404 antlered, 315 antlerless, 719 total
  • Charlevoix County: 453 antlered, 238 antlerless, 691 total
  • Benzie County: 347 antlered, 229 antlerless, 576 total
  • Emmet County: 390 antlered, 172 antlerless, 562 total
  • Leelanau County: 349 antlered, 162 antlerless, 511 total

The DNR offers tips on how to properly tag your deer and report the harvest on its YouTube page.

Firearm deer season in Michigan will continue through the end of November, before muzzleloader season, which runs Dec. 2-11, followed by late antlerless firearm season Dec. 12-Jan. 1.

To analyze the DNR Deer Harvest Report Summary for yourself, visit the DNR's website and click on the deer harvest reporting notice.