Skip to Main

DNR Releases Deer Forecast for 2019 Season

The annual deer forecast from the DNR is out and it looks like another good hunting season.

The DNR says this year should be similar to the past couple of years. With milder winters in the northern lower peninsula, there has been minimal mortality for the deer herd. That means a population increase, and stronger does giving birth to healthier fawns. Acorns and wild apples also seem to be in high supply.

Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffith at the DNR Office in Traverse City says it was a “cool wet spring and summer, start of summer. We’ve got pretty good deer food out there on the landscape. People are seeing a fair number of deer so they certainly are visible.”

Griffith says the Lake Superior watershed got quite a bit of snow and deer from that area are expected to have migrated south. And southern Michigan also had a mild winter so they expect a strong hunting season is that region as well.

From the DNR:
Numbers: It was a mild to average winter for the northern Lower Peninsula, which allowed deer populations to continue to increase across much of the region. Fawning conditions appear to have been average, with observations being similar to last year.

Food: Growing conditions have been very good across the region, with good rainfall during the early summer months. Thus far, it appears to be an average year for production of both acorns and wild apples. Scouting to find these areas will be crucial.

Bucks: Observations of bucks have been similar to last year across the entire northern Lower Peninsula. With the average winter this year and previous winters not taking a major toll on the herd, deer numbers have been increasing. Nutrition has been good, leading to healthy deer body conditions and good numbers of bucks.