Deer Season Harvest Estimates Announced

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the estimated harvest for the 2004 Michigan deer season. Deer harvest figures are based on a mail survey of over 51,000 deer hunters. Wildlife officials said 69% of the surveys were returned.

The survey indicates approximately 453,000 deer were taken during the 2004 deer season, with half the harvest antlerless deer. The 2004 estimate is almost 10% below the 2003 final estimated harvest of almost 500,000 deer. The state's record deer season harvest occurred in 1998, when around 600,000 deer were taken. The 2004 deer harvest is the smallest harvest in the last 10 years, reflecting the decreased deer herd in the northern two-thirds of the state.

The harvest in both the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula is estimated to be down more than 18% from the 2003 deer harvest. The harvest in southern Lower Michigan was down less than 2 percent. Every year southern Lower Michigan continues to represent a higher proportion of the harvest, DNR officials said. Almost 60% of the deer were taken in southern Michigan.

Hunter success during the 16-day firearm deer season comprised around 60 percent of the deer harvest. The 77-day archery seasons contributed about 27 percent of the harvest and about 10 percent was taken during the two 10-day muzzleloading seasons. The special antlerless seasons and the two-day youth hunt contributed about 3 percent of the harvest.

Last year 755,966 people purchased at least one license to hunt deer in Michigan. Total license sales were 1,706,367, down almost 5% from 2003.

Click here to see the 2004 deer harvest survey estimate. The final 2004 deer harvest survey report will be available in mid-June. The report may be found on the DNR Web site,