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Michigan's firearm deer season begins Monday

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Hundreds of thousands of hunters are expected to take to the woods this week as firearm deer season begins Monday.

The Department of Natural Resources says the number of hunting licenses for the season is down slightly from last year’s spike.

2020’s spike reversed a decades-long trend in declining hunting license sales. Despite the dip in sales this year, the number is still larger than 2018 and 2019.

The DNR is reminding hunters to properly tag their deer, wear orange and be mindful of what’s beyond the deer they’re shooting at.

A DNR spokeswoman says hunters can expect hunting conditions to be as good or better than last year.

“Overall, conditions are looking really good for the firearm deer hunting season,” says the DNR’s Holly Vaughn. “The winter of 2020-21 was mild and the spring, summer and fall food crops have been abundant for deer. Fawn production was also quite good this year.”

The DNR is asking hunters to bring the full deer carcass or deer head to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources check station for free chronic wasting disease testing.

The DNR is beginning a five-year process of strategic, focused CWD surveillance in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Gratiot, southern Isabella, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, or if you harvest a deer in the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties).

While deer may be plentiful in the woods, hunters may have trouble finding ammunition on store shelves.

Production issues and high demand has created an ammo shortage in Michigan and around the country.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.