2021 Deer Hunting Regulation Changes
Every so often the Michigan Department of Natural Resources make a few rule changes and here are a couple for 2021.
When I see that there are some rule changes for deer hunting, I am always interested to see if it is something that actually is a benefit to hunters. These new rule changes are more leaning to simplify antlerless deer license purchases and the other looks more to appease Michigan Insurance companies rather than make hunting better.
According to MLive, the first regulation change is replacing specific antlerless deer licenses with a universal antlerless license which makes sense, gives the hunter more options of places to hunt and you won't need an application to get one of these permits Lower Peninsula and parts of the south central Upper Peninsula. Plus these licenses can be used on public or private land.
Now that is a rule that makes sense, make it easier for the public and I'm sure a lot less of a hassle for the DNR to have to deal with as well.
There is only one part of the antlerless deer license that I think needs to be addressed and that is proper instruction on which deer are actually antlerless. Time and time again in these early season antlerless programs and late season programs, too many bucks are shot by inexperienced hunters. Lots of button bucks get taken each year simply because the hunter thinks they are does. More often than not, the first deer that come in are usually button bucks. The does have kicked them out of the herd and the bigger bucks don't want them around either since they can become a liability to a larger bucks survival. Late season hunting where is gets colder faster, the bucks horns fall off sooner and many times this is in early December in the colder parts of the state. A lot of late season hunters see the big body and think oh its a big doe and blast them not knowing or checking to see the deer's head shape, and yes there is a difference in a buck and a does head shape even when the buck is antlerless.
Here is a link for a more indepth look at the new regulation changes for the 2021 deer season.
I like how the DNR has made the expanded urban archery season through January 31 a permanent fixture in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. I wouldn't mind seeing one of those to happen in Kent County with all the deer that are encroaching on the city.
These urban seasons are a good thing to manage the herd but we all know it is because auto insurance companies really hate having to pay out for vehicles hitting deer. My guess is a lot of the extra antlerless deer permits are designed for the same purpose.
The reason I bring this up because I remember a time when you couldn't even shoot a doe let alone one, two or three in a season but as the state became more populated with people, so did the number of cars and trucks hitting deer. I don't like that auto insurance companies are somehow involved in Michigan's deer management.
What I would like to see happen in the deer management side of things is going to a 1 buck per season rule. Shooting two bucks is too many to get a true balance for the herd. I wouldn't mind if the rule was stricter and was 8-point or better but I am sure everyone would be butt hurt if that happened.
I would really like to see the youth hunt become archery or crossbow only and to totally do away with the firearm season that happens in late September. These two weekends of firearms in the woods really messes with archery hunters all across the state on public and private hunting lands and force many of the larger bucks to becoming nocturnal way sooner than before these two hunts were even a thing.
The only other regulation has to do with deer feeding in areas of the Upper Peninsula. You no longer need a permit for supplemental feeding but that feeding is only from January 1 to May 15. Just two gallons per day and only two gallons at any one time.