Deer hunting conditions “seem excellent”, according to the MRN
Deer hunting conditions this fall are expected to meet or exceed 2019.
“Overall, conditions look great,” the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in its 2020 deer hunt preview.
The deer hunt begins this weekend with Liberty Hunt and continues through January 1 with archery and the late seasons of antlerless firearms. As tradition dictates, the regular gun season is set for November 15-30.
Here’s a rundown of what to expect by region:
Hunters in the Upper Peninsula can expect a “slightly better” deer season than 2019, according to MNR field staff.
The UP herd performed well last winter. That, combined with a good spring and a great summer growing season, meant that most areas reported more deer sightings than last year.
Soft mast feeds like berries and apples appear to be spotty across the region – likely due to the late spring frost – but hard masts are excellent this year. Acorns, in particular, are available in abundance.
Hunters can expect success if they find acorn-producing oak trees and then look for deer trails in those areas, the DNR said.
Deer are abundant in the northern Lower Peninsula and hunters can expect an “even better” hunting season this year, according to MNR.
Last winter was mild and had “little or no impact” on the deer in this region. Antler development and body size appear “exceptionally good”.
The deer population had good sources of natural food throughout the spring and summer. Now the soft mast looks uneven but, like up there, there are a lot of acorns falling from the oaks.
A “very mild” winter in southern Michigan likely had no impact on the deer herd, resulting in high numbers that could lead to more hunter success this year, according to MNR.
Deer show strong antler development and strong body size, and there are many calves.
In this region, hard masts are uneven while soft mast foods, such as apples and pears, are plentiful. MNR staff recommend that hunters look for areas with wild apple and pear trees.
For more information on this year’s deer hunting seasons and regulations, see the Michigan Hunting Digest 2020.