The Sick and the Restricted

By this time, you either know someone who has been out deer stalking or have been out yourself. A common complaint among hunters is regarding the number of restrictions. So many rules! Why all the regulations? Believe it or not there is reasoning and logic behind this messy and confusing looking chart:

The Michigan landscape and climate varies a great deal. Areas with a higher number of farm land seem to have an increased number of deer which can also lead to an increase in diseases transmitted between those deer. Please do not misunderstand that statement–farms are not to blame for disease (maybe you weren’t thinking that, but I thought it best to clarify). More food sources combined with milder winter temperatures can increase population. Without harsh winters, weaker animals survive more easily and they intermingle with the rest of the population and can potentially pass on their illness (or breed with others to create additional weaklings).

These DMUs–or Deer Management Units–seem confusing, but they take into account several factors to improve the management of game populations. You will notice that areas of high disease have fewer size regulations to try and eliminate those diseases. The Upper Peninsula has experienced harsh (meaning negative degree temperatures and abundant snow) winters the past couple years or more–the restrictions here are more stringent due to mother nature taking a chunk out of the population. The red asterisk areas are mainly islands which have their own unique challenges–the primary one being that they are water locked.

If you want to continue to hold a grudge against the DNR I won’t try to sway you too much. However, the map and restriction key will hopefully help as you choose a hunting location. Maybe while you are sitting up in a tree or blind being as still and quiet as you can without falling asleep you can ponder the connections between environment, management restrictions/decisions, and those big eyes staring you down.

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