Michigan DNR Clarifies Point Restrictions for Lower Peninsula

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Hunters in Deer Management Unit (DMU) 487 - the six-county portion of the Northeastern Lower Peninsula where bovine tuberculosis is an issue with the deer herd - should be aware they will need to abide by restrictions approved by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) at its July 8 meeting in Lansing. The change affects how the regular tag on the combination license can be used in the area and limits hunters with archery or firearms licenses to one buck per year.

Deer Management Unit 487 includes Presque Isle, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda, Alcona, and Iosco counties. Those who opt to purchase the two-tag combination license will be subject to antler point restrictions on any buck taken within DMU 487. Regulations require that a buck taken with the regular tag on the combination license must sport a minimum of three points on one antler. The restricted tag must be used for a buck with a minimum of four points on one side, as is the case when hunting anywhere in the state.

Hunters that purchase a firearms and/or archery license are not subject to any antler point restrictions in DMU 487. However, in this case they may legally take only one antlered buck from the area.

As another option for taking antlerless deer only within DMU 487, hunters in the unit may use a firearm or combination license for antlerless deer within the Nov. 15-30 firearm season or the Dec. 10-19 muzzleloader season. This change was enacted by the NRC at its May meeting.

Department of Natural Resources and Environment wildlife officials had recommended an antler point restriction for all bucks taken in DMU 487 to work in conjunction with the prior adoption of the tagging option for antlerless deer as a means of encouraging hunters to take more does.

Rather than implement a universal antler point restriction in the area, the NRC enacted the different options for firearm and combination licenses, which are the same as those that have been in effect in the Upper Peninsula for the last two seasons. The ability to take an antlerless deer with a firearm or combination license applies to DMU 487 only. The DNRE pursued these changes in DMU 487 due to concerns that the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis infection among deer in northeast Michigan has remained largely unchanged for the past five or more years.