DNR Northern LP Deer Hunting Forecast

10626441_10205165382878041_2273038732102162580_oToday, we're taking a look at the deer hunting forecast for the Northern Lower Peninsula.
Some of the predictions have been anecdotally verified, as we've seen quite a bit of sign in the Pigeon River Country and 10 deer in the first three days of archery season on Beaver Island, including an eight-point buck.
We talked with Kevin Gillespie of the Michigan chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), who lives in Traverse City, for a more in-depth look at what hunters in the area have seen so far.
"The bowhunters within the northwest Lower Peninsula are seeing a good number of two and a half year-old bucks," said Gillespie. "The areas with heavy snowfall are seeing less deer with winter kill. In my hunting area within Leelanau County, I have seen fewer deer."
Here's the full excerpt from the DNR's Northern Lower Peninsula Deer Hunting Forecast, compiled by DNR biologists Brent Rudolph and Ashley Autenrieth:
The deer population for the Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) is expected to be similar to last year. Even with the severe winter this past year deer in the NLP came through it in fair to good conditions.
Deer sightings have been good throughout the region and many have reported seeing healthy fawns including many sets of twins. Though it appears some deer may have been lost due to the severe winter the main impacts observed from winter will likely be smaller body size and antlers rather than lower populations.
Mast production (fruits and nuts) has been good throughout the region. High production of acorns, apples and beechnuts has been reported. Deer should be targeting these areas frequently. Scouting to find these areas will be very important. Contacting your local wildlife office may be a good first step; they may be able to give you insight as to which areas are producing.
Expect to see similar deer numbers to last year throughout most of the NLP. Many areas may see more 2.5 year old bucks this year as well since a number of NLP counties began a 3 point antler point restriction last year which allowed the majority of 1.5 year old bucks to mature to the next age class this year. All NLP Deer Management Units are open for antlerless hunting so be sure to look in the 2014 Antlerless Deer Digest if you are interested in obtaining an antlerless license.
Check back on Monday for a closer look at the Southern Lower Peninsula Deer Hunting Forecast!

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