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Monday, June 27, 2022

Michigan’s Extended Archery Season: Urban Deer Management Zone

We’re halfway through December which means in two weeks we will have wrapped up another Michigan whitetail deer season. However, before you start lamenting the 10-month wait until next season, I want to let you in on a secret. You can actually hunt for another month in 3 counties. It’s actually not much of a secret, but there is an extended archery season you should be aware of.

When:

January 1st, 2020 through January 31st 2020

Where:

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The extended archery season is open in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties only. You can hunt either public or private land. In addition to state public lands and privately owned land, Oakland county has 6 parks open to archery hunting. You can find the list and specific regulations here.

Why:

The Michigan DNR has declared an “Urban Deer Management Zone” for Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne county. To reduce deer human conflicts, the state has granted hunters an extra month to bow hunt for whitetail deer. The initiative began as a pilot program in 2017 and was to originally run for 3 years. It was extended for one more year to follow the 2020 season.

Tags And Regulations:

Your deer tags from 2020 will still be valid for the extended archery season. All rules and regulations that applied to archery deer hunting for Fall 2020 still apply. Traditional, Compound bows and Crossbows are allowed. Keep in mind that some bucks may have shed their antlers while you are hunting the extended season. Keep an eye out for deer with two circular marks on the top of their head where antlers were. The DNR (and the staff at OSN) encourage you to avoid taking antlerless bucks when possible.

My Take

While the extended season is not exactly easy hunting, I welcome the extra month to spend in the woods. Temperatures can get extremely cold in January, but if you dress warm and brave the elements you may find some success. When the temperatures drop, deer will spend most of the day bedded down in thermal cover to conserve energy, but will also place a lot of importance on food as they burn extra calories in the cold. If you can find a late-season food source you will be in a good position to capitalize on the extended archery season. While January deer hunting in Michigan is not for everyone, I recommend giving it a shot. There are plenty of acres of public land in Oakland County and you may even find some landowners who will welcome the opportunity to thin their deer herd a bit.

 

 

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