BIG RAPIDS — DNR officials like northern Michigan wildlife technician Katie Keen are waiting for the results of survey forms that will shed some light on the success hunters may have enjoyed during the Nov. 15-30 firearm season.

“It’s early, but in the northern (Lower Peninsula), you’re looking at a 15 to 20 percent increase of harvest from last year,” Keen said. “But that’s early numbers. We’re seeing that the herd is in better condition than it was last year, looking at the information we do receive from the deer checks.

“But it is a different story for the U.P. The U.P. harvest is expected to be down about 20 percent from last year. We’re encouraging folks, as always, don’t forget about that deer harvest survey on line. Over 50,000 are mailed out, but if you don’t get one in the mail, make sure to do it online. Anyone can go online.”

“I would say it’s been a very good hunting season,” Brandon Jurries of Trigger Time Outfitters in Big Rapids said. “I would say total number of bucks was probably down. But size, and quality is up.”

Keen said because of the warmer temperatures during the rifle season, deer may not have been moving.

“But it may have allowed people to be in the field longer,” she said. “They were comfortable, but maybe the deer were moving because it was so warm. We’ll see how that shakes out.”

“I was too picky, but the bottom line is we’re getting too fussy on what we shoot,” avid hunter Rich Morey of Big Rapids said. “I never took a shot for bow season. I passed up a couple of deer. Once you shoot a deer, the edge is taken off. You shoot one with a bow, the work starts.”

Muzzleloading season ends on Sunday and bow season goes until Jan. 1, plus the late antlerless season Dec. 21-Jan. 1 on private land only, select counties only.

Grouse hunting season will continue until the end of the year.

“A lot of people still target them in December,” Keen said.