Local antlerless deer hunting licenses are up this year

BALDWIN — The Department of Natural Resources announced recently that about the same number of public-land antlerless deer licenses will be available to hunters this fall compared to last year after action taken on license quotas by the Natural Resources Commission.

Private-land licenses, however, will decrease by about 25 percent, mainly in southern Michigan, the DNR pointed out.

The DNR said it will make 70,550 licenses available for public land, which is down slightly from last year’s 70,750. A total of 483,400 private-land licenses will be available, down from 637,900 in the 2012 season.

But the DNR announced that in the northern Lower Peninsula, more antlerless licenses will be available for both public and private land. The DNR will make 35,900 public-land licenses available, up from 30,900 last year, and 119,100 private-land licenses, up from 115,500.

“This year we increased antlerless license quotas for both Lake County and Osceola County,” said county DNR wildlife biologist Erin Victory. “In both cases, public land was opened for the first time in many years. This is because with three mild winters in a row, overwinter survival for deer has been relatively high and we have correspondingly seen more deer in these counties as a result.

“Though EHD (Epizootic hemorrhagic disease) was confirmed in Osceola County last year, it was largely confined to one township, and isn’t expected to have much of an effect on deer numbers this fall.”

Katie Keen, DNR wildlife biologist for northern Michigan, noted that in Osceola County this year were 100 public, 5,300 private and last year were no public and 5,000 private for 400 total increase.

Lake County will have 200 public and 3,000 private land permits this year. Last year there were zero public and 3,000 private permits.

Mecosta is lumped together with Montcalm County in one unit, rather than as separate counties.

Last year, Mecosta County had zero permits on private and 200 on public.

“It’s not apples for apples this year,” Keen said, “They’re lumped with Montcalm County.”

It’s 1,200 on public and 2,600 on private for the two counties combined.

One of three counties that wildlife biologist Pete Kailing covers is Mecosta.

“In the past, there’s only been a couple hundred permits available on public land in Mecosta County,” Kailing said. “There’s not that much public land in Mecosta County, It’s 96 percent public land.

“Montcalm has more public land. They have many game areas. They in the past have issued 1,200 to 1,500 public land and permits. In theory there are more public land doe permits available for Mecosta County hunters. We expect the same people to apply for the same permits for the same places they’ve hunted in the past, typically.”

Hunters should remember many DMUs have changed as a result of changes to local deer populations and are reminded to check the DNR’s 2013 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest for


“People should read that carefully so they know what they’re applying for,” Kailing said.