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DNR asks hunters to aim for doe


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters this season to forgo those trophy antlers and to shoot more does

In an open letter to hunters across the state, DNR specialist Chad Stewart says lower peninsula hunters should reevaluate their deer hunting priorities. Other advocates and state officials have echoed the call to stop chasing antlers and start aiming their bows and rifles at does.

The logic, they say, is simple: killing an adult male has little effect on herd size, because it only takes a few bucks to impregnate many does, but those many does can give birth to twins or triplets each spring. Less does mean less fawns in the spring.

In his letter, Stewart estimates that the state of Michigan is tens of thousands of does short from the number that officials would like to see harvested to keep populations stable.

Deer feed on local crops and accounted for nearly 59,000 auto accidents last year alone.

Compounding the situation, the DNR reports fewer hunters. The sport peaked in the late 1990’s, with almost 800,000 hunters. The current state average is around 540,000.

One solution is that hunters must shoot a doe before they can harvest a buck. It was tried in Wisconsin where hunters pushed back on the policy. Stewart says that conversation needs to be had here.

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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