LANSING – The Michigan Natural Resources Commission recently approved several new deer hunting regulations that will be of interest to mid Michigan deer hunters. One big change allows Lower Peninsula hunters to harvest antlerless deer with their deer or deer combo licenses. This includes the archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons in all Deer Management Units (DMUs). There will also be an early and late antlerless seasons in all Lower Peninsula mainlands. Antlerless deer may also be taken with a deer or combo license during the early and late seasons archery.

Other significant changes were also made to the regulations. They include:

Liberty and Independence hunts qualifications now include deaf people.

Mentored youths (age 9 and younger), junior license holders (ages 10-16) and apprentice license holders are exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons, in all DMUs and on all licenses. This includes both the regular and restricted tags of the combo license.

The statewide limit for private-land antlerless license purchase is 10 per hunter.

Hunters with disabilities may use single-bite and multibite baits during the Liberty and Independence hunts. Hunters participating in these hunts may begin baiting five days before both hunts. 

“These recommendations are aimed at making it easier for hunters of all ages and experience levels to enjoy a Michigan outdoor tradition, while at the same time facing the present and future challenges of managing the state’s abundant deer population,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk and moose program leader. They will also save hunters money “between $20 and $25,” according to Stewart.

There were also several significant changes made in the regulations for the Upper Peninsula and Zone 3 of the Lower Peninsula. Including:

Upper Peninsula archers in select DMUs may pursue antlerless deer with their deer/deer combo license. The following DMUs continue to be closed to antlerless harvest during the archery seasons: 027, 031, 036, 042, 066, 127 and 131. Additional DMUs may be open or closed based on the snowfall totals from the prior winter, pending DNR analysis. The 2020 Hunting Digest will have the complete regulations. It will be available in August.

Antler point restrictions have been removed on the deer license in parts of DMU 122, including areas outside the core chronic wasting disease surveillance area.

For Zone 3 hunters the muzzleloader season will be shortened to 10 days and the late antlerless firearm season will begin the Monday after the muzzleloader season concludes in the Lower Peninsula. Muzzleloaders can be used on public lands in Zone 3 during the late antlerless firearm season to take any deer with a valid tag.

All legal firearms may be used during the muzzleloader season in the southern Lower Peninsula.

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