Hunting News

Online harvest reporting starts with fall 2022 deer seasons

Online harvest reporting starts with fall 2022 deer seasons

By Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Starting with the fall 2022 deer seasons, online harvest reporting is required for all hunters who successfully take a deer in Michigan.

Last year, nearly 7,000 deer hunters voluntarily reported their deer harvest online to test the new DNR reporting system.

Chad Stewart, deer, elk and moose management specialist, said there are several reasons the department is moving to online harvest reporting, but one of the most important is more precise data.

“The decline in response rate to our post-season mail surveys increases the amount of uncertainty in our harvest estimates, which can lead to incorrect regulation recommendations in some locations,” Stewart said.

Brian Frawley, the DNR wildlife biologist who manages the surveys, agrees.

“Twenty years ago, 75% of recipients responded to the survey, but in recent years we have seen a response rate consistently under 40%,” Frawley said. “If we’re going to provide hunters, wildlife managers and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission with timely, accurate data, we need to change how we collect it.”

Hunters will have up to 72 hours after taking a deer to report their harvest. The DNR estimates it should take about three to five minutes to complete the report, and there are two ways to do it.

Hunter can use the new DNR mobile app, available in the Google Play or Apple App stores, or report the harvest online at Michigan.gov/DNRHarvestReport.

Hunters who can’t report their harvest due to a lack of internet access or smart device may get help from a family member or friend with access, by providing them with their kill tag license number, date of birth and harvest location to report on the hunter’s behalf. Reporting by phone to the DNR is not possible because of the need for accurate harvest location data, which is provided by selecting the location on a digital map.

Some hunters have expressed concern about sharing their harvest location, but Stewart stressed the confidentiality and value of that accurate data and how it helps the DNR and, ultimately, hunters.

“While we will have near real-time harvest data available for hunters throughout the season on our website, that data is at the county level,” Stewart said. “Only the DNR will have access to the GPS coordinates of the actual harvest location, for two very important reasons: more effective disease surveillance, and the ability to build a network of harvest locations so we can adapt management guidelines to better align with harvest numbers. That means better overall management recommendations for Michigan’s deer population.”

Answers to frequently asked questions about harvest reporting are available on the DNR website. While the hunters who tested the system last year found it to be a quick and easy process, assistance for those experiencing technical difficulties will be available by calling (517) 284-9453 during normal business hours.

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