On May 15th, 2020 the Michigan DNR has released a set of proposed regulations for deer season 2020. They are seeking public input on the proposal and have said that it is a list of “simplified” regulations to make it easier for hunters to understand the rules. There are some fairly significant changes. If passed the proposal would require hunters to place 144 square inches of blaze orange on a ground blind that is visible from each side. Mentored youths and junior license holders would be exempt from all antler point restrictions in all units. The limit for private land antlerless deer tags would be increased to 10 per hunter. If the state tries to pass an antler point restriction via a survey the threshold has been decreased from 66% to 60% potentially making it easier for these measures to pass in the future. The full text of the proposed changes can be found here:
- Change Liberty and Independence hunt qualifications to include deaf people.
- Allow mentored youths (age 9 and younger), junior license holders (age 10-16) and apprentice license holders to be exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons, in all deer management units (DMUs) and under all licenses.
- Require a 60% support threshold from a survey to prompt the DNR to recommend antler point restrictions (APRs) to the NRC, as decided by the 2019 APR work group. This replaces the 66% support threshold recommended by previous APR work groups. Additionally, failed APR initiatives would face a 10-year moratorium before another initiative would be considered.
- Change the statewide limit for antlerless license purchase to 10 per hunter. This limit offers maximum opportunity for those who wish to manage abundant deer on their property.
- Require hunter orange to be visible on occupied ground blinds.
- Standardize baiting practices (eliminate the requirement to use single-bite baits in select counties) during the Liberty and Independence hunts for hunters with disabilities.
- Allow Upper Peninsula archers to resume pursuing antlerless deer in all DMUs with their deer/deer combination license.
- Remove remnant APRs on the deer license in parts of DMU 122.
- In addition to the archery season, allow antlerless deer to be taken on the deer/deer combination license during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons in all Lower Peninsula DMUs.
- Open early and late antlerless seasons in all Lower Peninsula mainland DMUs.
- Allow antlerless deer to be taken on a deer/deer combination license during both the early and late antlerless seasons in the Lower Peninsula.
- Change antlerless quotas in select DMUs.
- Shorten muzzleloader season in the southern Lower Peninsula to 10 days and extend the late antlerless season to provide consistency between all regions of the state.
- Allow legal firearms to be used during the muzzleloader season in the southern Lower Peninsula.
- Scale carcass movement restrictions to areas most affected by chronic wasting disease. This eases some of the movement restrictions in parts of the state with a lower risk of harvesting a CWD-positive animal while still applying those restrictions to areas with the highest risk.
- Resume four-point restriction on combination license in select DMUs in the Lower Peninsula.
- Continue the expanded archery season through Jan. 31 for one more year in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.