The Natural Resources Commission and Department of Natural Resources have approved the regularly scheduled three-year duration of deer regulations in effect for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 hunting seasons.
Many traditional regulations remain unchanged, and updates are aimed at enhancing deer hunting opportunities.
“There are many challenges facing deer hunting in Michigan and much of the Midwest in the coming years,” said Chad Stewart, deer, elk and moose management specialist. “While the approved regulations for the 2023-2025 deer seasons are geared toward increasing opportunities for a declining hunter base, we’ll have to evaluate all possible options to sustainably manage Michigan’s deer herd in the future.”
Updated regulations include:
• Restricted tag of the deer combo license. The four-point antler point restriction on the restricted tag of the deer combo license has been reinstated in 19 Lower Peninsula counties: Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Lenawee, Mecosta, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee. Under the updated regulation, all deer combo licenses in southern Lower Peninsula counties will now have an unrestricted regular tag and a four-point restricted tag.
• Liberty Hunt. Hunters participating in the Liberty Hunt, a firearm deer hunt on private or public land for youth and hunters with disabilities, will now be allowed to harvest more than one deer. While the limit for bucks remains at one, hunters can pursue multiple antlerless deer. A separate license will be required for each deer harvested during this hunt.
• U.P. CWD Surveillance Zone. The Upper Peninsula CWD Surveillance Zone, including parts of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties, has been removed. As a result, hunters in this area can resume baiting and feeding practices. The hunter's choice antler point regulations, which include an unrestricted tag for the deer license and point restrictions for the regular/restricted tag of the deer combo license, have been reinstated. Restrictions on the deer combo license are three points on a side for the regular tag and four points on a side for the restricted tag.
• Late archery season and crossbows. The proposal to allow crossbows in the late archery season in the Upper Peninsula was rejected. Hunters are still prohibited from using crossbows during the late archery season in the Upper Peninsula, including hunters in the previous CWD Surveillance Zone where crossbow use in the late archery season had previously been allowed.
• Antlerless harvest in northern DMUs. The proposal to reinstate antlerless harvest opportunities in northern deer management units 007, 031, 042, 048, 066, 127 and 131 using archery equipment was rejected. Antlerless harvest remains prohibited in those units, with exceptions only for qualified individuals during the Liberty Hunt and through Deer Management Assistance Permits, where authorized.
Full summaries of approved deer regulations will be available closer to hunting season openers.