Harvest down this deer season

SAULT STE. MARIE – The deer harvest during the 2013 firearm season appears to be down compared to last year’s numbers, according to statistics being tallied at Department of Natural Resources deer check stations in the Upper Peninsula.

“Based on our main stations, it looks like we are down in the neighborhood of 25 percent n the Upper Peninsula,” said Dave Jentoft, DNR wildlife biologist at the Sault Ste. Marie Field Office. “Most of the stations were down,” he added.

DNR deer kill statistics are based on animals registered at deer check stations across the region. Numbers don’t reflect the U.P.’s total harvest but provide statistics which the DNR can use to compare to previous years’ registrations, he explained.

A factor which affects hunting each season is the weather, Jentoft said. This year, the firearm season started out with warm temperatures including rain. A couple other days brought very cold and windy weather for hunters.

Last year’s long winter likely played a big role in herd numbers being down for this year’s hunt, Jentoft added. There was a lower deer survival rate last winter and a lower birth rate this spring.

Based on numbers received so far from check stations, Jentoft noted there was a lower percentage of yearlings registered compared to the previous year.

Deer brought into the check stations are aged by the wear on their teeth, said Jentoft. The antlers are counted and measured; information is also gathered on what deer management area they were harvested in, he added.

Muzzleloader deer season begins Friday and lasts through Dec. 15. Archery deer season continues through Jan. 1.