Yeah, I know we've got some time between now and October 1st and November 15th, but now that the 2023 Michigan whitetail deer season has had time to sit, let's review the state's lowest deer harvest in decades. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that 274,282 whitetails were harvested in all seasons last year, down from 303,055 in 2022.

Related: This 'Tradition' Will Kill Michigan Whitetail Hunting

Until last year, the harvest numbers had held above 350,000 deer of both sexes being taken each year. The exception was in 2020, when COVID took people out of lockdown and into the woods, giving them a much-needed break from the monotony of the pandemic and a harvest of over 411,000 deer. The COVID season marked the first time the total amount of whitetail taken was over 400,000 since the 2012 hunting season.

Michigan's 2023 Total Deer Harvest Down, Despite More Hunters Than 2022

Countdown to Opening Day: 2023 Michigan Deer Harvest by County
Hans Isaacson via Unsplash / Canva

Although fewer deer were taken, the DNR reports a 1.4% increase in participation, with 594,348 registered hunters. With more hunters and Michigan's deer population estimated to be well over 2 million, why were almost 30,000 fewer deer taken in '23?

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What if I told you that official numbers reported to the DNR may not be as accurate as you'd think? The DNR relies on hunters to report deer harvest on their app or website. How many outdoors enthusiasts do you think rushed to enter their trophy compared to those who didn't bother to or didn't know how to use the technology?

Michigan's 2023 Whitetail Deer Season in Review - County-by-County Report

Countdown to Opening Day: 2023 Michigan Deer Harvest by County
Laura College via Unsplash / Canva

2022 was the first year for the mandatory online reporting system, so the jury is still out on how many Michiganders accurately report their hunt.

Related: Look at That Rack! Lansing DNR Office's Poachers' Wall of Shame

Let's examine Michigan's most recent whitetail season as we count down to the county that harvested the most.

Michigan's 2023 Final Whitetail Deer Harvest vs 2022 Harvest

Another year and another downward trend continues for Michigan's Whitetail Deer Harvest in 2023. Here's a look at the final numbers from each county, ranked by lowest to highest deer harvested, and how they compare to the 2022 season.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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