Michigan DNR Ask Hunters To Shoot A Doe, But Could DNR Do More?
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is begging hunters to shoot a female deer (doe) this hunting season but couldn't the DNR do more about this themselves?
The 2023 Michigan Firearm Season Has Begun
Every November 15 Michigan hunters enter the woods all across the state in hopes of getting that big buck.
It seems fewer hunters are entering the woods because it's getting harder to actually get that big buck for a variety of reasons.
Chronic wasting disease has made it so hunters in the Lower Peninsula cannot use bait to keep the disease from wiping out the herd. Makes sense, but the DNR still allows places to sell bait. Many hunters will not see a deer in their area without bait. Not everyone gets the luxury of being able to hunt next to a farm field.
So Why is the DNR Asking Hunters to Shoot a Doe This Season?
In September, the DNR wrote an open letter to deer hunters to shoot a doe this season. With fewer hunters in the woods, fewer antlered and antlerless deer are being harvested but the number of female deer being harvested drops every year. The younger generation is not taking on the sport of hunting either.
According to WOOD, DNR biologist Chad Stewart said, "I am asking hunters to consider the long-term benefits of being selective in their choice of taking a buck." Stewart is referring to a strategy to balance Michigan's buck-to-doe ratio which would make hunting better for all hunters. This makes perfect sense.
What Could the DNR Do To Solve The Problem of Too Many Doe's?
The DNR talks about the neighboring states shooting more doe's than Michiganders but they leave out some details.
- Neighboring states have a 1-buck rule (some even require the bucks to have a certain size rack. Michigan has a 2-buck rule making it less likely for a hunter to take a doe.
- Neighboring states also issue more doe tags (especially in counties with high populations) to help even out the buck-to-doe ratio. I lived in Indiana for years and was so impressed with how they manage their deer herd. !-buck rule, doe harvest tags for farmers. They didn't have special gun hunts before bow season started to push mature deer nocturnal. There is not a shotgun season in the middle of bow season in Indiana like there is in Michigan. If hunters are not successful they don't come home and talk about what a great hunt it was so their children have no reason to be fired up about hunting and the Michigan DNR wonders why the numbers are declining.
- There is no explanation of ethical hunting in the Michigan hunting guide. Stuff like does and young bucks heads are different and walk differently. What is the first deer in a field? 99% of the time it is a button buck and often from long distances they look like doe's so many hunters wanting to fill a doe tag make the mistake of shooting young bucks thinking their doe's. The practice of shooting bucks 8-point or bigger outside of the ears would let the bucks grow up and more hunters would be successful. The number of hunters will never grow unless the success rate grows. More out-of-state hunters would come here if the hunting was better. Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, and others don't have that problem getting out-of-state hunters because those states make it worth it to hunt there.
- Michigan is not managing the coyote problem either because they know they are taking out young deer who never have a chance to grow up to try and cut down on auto accidents. That is a fancy way of saying we are really trying to save auto insurance companies from having to pay out when a car hits a deer when Michigan has the highest insurance rates in the country.
I plan to shoot a doe this year for the meat. I have been passing on bucks for years in order to grow them for the future but I am only one person. If the DNR really wants to solve this problem of too many doe's they should do something about them like our surrounding states do to make the hunting better and educate new and perhaps older hunters better.
I used to hunt the old Michigan way which is, if it had horns, spike or not, I was shooting it to get a buck. I had some guys who were very successful hunters in Indiana teach me about managing my hunting area better and you pass on those young bucks and shoot more does you will eventually get bigger bucks, and they were right. They also live in a state where their Department of Natural Resources wants the hunting experience better for everyone, not just auto insurance companies.
These Are The 10 Most Wanted Fugitives In Michigan Right Now
30 Famous Celebrities You Might Not Know Are From Michigan
Gallery Credit: Big Joe Pesh / Getty Images