2013-06-16 / Sports

Local organization to host meetings on proposed deer antler point restrictions

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advised the public that an organization will hold informational meetings regarding deer antler point restriction (APR) proposals at a number of locations in June. Individuals are invited to attend a local event to learn more about the APR process and the specific proposals currently under consideration.

The DNR supports the voluntary implementation of APR on private land. Under guidelines adopted by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), mandatory regulations proposed by sponsoring organizations will only be recommended for implementation if DNR staff has no biological concerns regarding such regulations, and if a clear majority (at least 66 percent) of support among hunters in the proposed area is documented. Support will be determined by a DNR survey mailed to a sample of hunters who indicated on the 2012 DNR deer harvest survey that they hunted deer in the proposal area.

A group known as the Lower Peninsula Deer Management Initiative (LPDMI) has submitted two different APR proposals to be considered for implementation starting with the 2014 deer season. Antlerless deer regulations within the proposed areas would continue to be determined annually by the DNR. Surveys to measure support for these proposals will be mailed starting in August. Payment by the LPDMI will offset survey costs incurred by this proposal.

The process for review of APR proposals provides a uniform approach for addressing requests by organizations for adopting such regulations. The NRC retains full authority over decisions to implement APR and other harvest regulations regardless of the survey outcome, but the proposal review process provides valuable information to inform those decisions.

The first proposal of the LPDMI calls for implementing a minimum three-point APR for a portion of the northern Lower Peninsula. This proposal area includes Cheboygan, Otsego, Crawford, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Clare, Gladwin and Oceana counties and those portions of Muskegon, Newaygo, Mecosta, Isabella, Midland, Bay and Arenac counties within Hunting and Trapping Zone 2. The APR would not apply to individuals hunting with an apprentice hunting license or mentored youth hunting license or youth hunters during a designated youth season. For all other hunters, antlered deer would be required to have at least three antler points on one side. Throughout Michigan, all hunters that harvest two antlered deer must ensure at least one has four or more antler points on one side, and this proposal would not change that requirement.

The second proposal of the LPDMI calls for implementing a four-point APR for all of Hunting and Trapping Zone 3 in southern Michigan. Zone 3 includes portions of Muskegon, Newaygo, Mecosta, Isabella, Midland, Bay, and Arenac counties and all other counties to the south. The APR would not apply to individuals hunting with an apprentice hunting license or mentored youth hunting license or youth hunters during a designated youth season. This proposal seeks to require that all other antlered deer harvested in the area have at least four antler points on one side.

There will be a public meeting on Tuesday, June 25 in the Chesaning High School gymnasium, 850 N. Fourth St., Chesaning. The meeting will primarily address the proposed four-point APR for Zone 3. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., the meeting will run from 7 to 8 p.m., and the building must be cleared by 8:30 p.m. Five additional meetings to be held in July will be announced at a later date.

Landowner in one of the proposed areas who would like to offer input about the proposal may email their comments to DNR-wildlife@michigan.gov.

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