The buck-to-doe ratio in Michigan is way off, even with all the antlerless permits that are allowed, so is it time to go to a one buck per year rule for deer hunters?

Get our free mobile app

Michigan Deer Hunters Allowed Two Bucks With a Combo License

Deer on on the plains.
ImagineGolf/Getty Images
loading...

Michigan is loaded with deer but the problem is most of them are does. The second problem is that Michigan hunters are shooting more antlered deer per square mile than almost any other state in the country.

Two whitetail deer bucks locking antlers in a fight during the fall rut
Jared Lloyd/Getty Images
loading...

In the state of Michigan, if a hunter purchases a combo license, he or she is allowed two bucks, but there is a restriction. The first buck has to have at least one horn that is three inches or bigger. The second buck has to have at least four points on one side that is at least one inch in length. In Ionia, Montcalm, and Mecosta counties both bucks need to have at least four points on one side and an inch in length for the regular and restricted kill tags.

Sturham/Getty Images/500px
Sturham/Getty Images/500px
loading...

So what this means is Michigan hunters are shooting way more bucks than antlerless deer. Even though on private land, hunters can get all the way up to ten antlerless deer permits.

Department of Natural Resources Does An Experiment

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Facebook Page
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Facebook Page
loading...

The DNR did an experiment in five Michigan counties where CWD is pretty heavy in the herd. The DNR set antler point restrictions in three of the counties to see if they could get hunters to shoot more does. Guess what? The experiment worked. More does per square mile were harvested where antler point restrictions were in place in the three counties vs the two counties that went with no restrictions.

a buck whitetail deer in Colorado in autumn
twildlife/Getty Images/iStockphoto
loading...

Michigan hunters, do you want to shoot a buck like the one in the picture above? I believe antler point restrictions for the whole state would be a positive and allow deer to mature so a deer like the one above is possible for more than just a few hunters.

Is It Time For Statewide Antler Restrictions for Michigan?

Michael Olson/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Michael Olson/Getty Images/iStockphoto
loading...

Most hunters I talk to in Michigan agree that we need to harvest more does and cut down on the number of bucks being taken, especially younger bucks.

The DNR wants Michigan hunters to take more does to get a better balance but they are also in control of the rules. I personally think taking two bucks is one too many if we hunters hope to ever have a balanced healthy herd.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
loading...

I harvested this massive buck in the picture above in Indiana with my bow. They have the one buck-only rule and tons of incentives for harvesting doe's across the state. This system is highly effective.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
loading...

I harvested the buck in the picture above in Indiana on the last day of late-season hunting.

If the DNR would make a statewide one buck rule and if hunters could put their egos aside and think about how much deer meat they can eat and harvest deer accordingly, whitetail deer hunting would improve drastically.

A pair of wild Whitetail Bucks in the winter
Steve Oehlenschlager/Getty Images/iStockphoto
loading...

What I mean by that is, don't shoot a buck unless it's 8-point or bigger outside the ears or shoot a doe(s) depending on how big your family is and how much venison you consume in a year. If you are going to shoot a little buck, then why not harvest a doe instead that has more meat on her?

Even though the rule is not in place by the DNR, that is how my land is being hunted. Hunters have to become more patient and look at the long-term picture. I'm coming up on my fourth season on my property. When I first started hunting there, it was a disaster, all juvenile deer and skittish because of all the shooting going on in the neighborhood. I spoke with the neighbors to get them to buy into the idea and 3.5 years later I have seven shooters on the property and a much better balance of bucks and does.

""
Mitch Kezar/Getty Images/Design Pics RF
loading...

So what do you think Michigan deer hunters...are you in?

This whole conversation was based on an article from National Deer Association a co-worker shared with me, that is urging the Michigan DNR to beef up the antlerless deer harvest in the state. The NDA gets specific on the numbers but the results are there.

Newaygo County Parks, Lakes, Rivers & Campgrounds

If you are looking for somewhere to take the family to get outdoors, Newaygo County has just about everything Michigan has to offer in one county.

Top 5 Log Cabins To Rent in Michigan

If you are looking to rent a cabin for a weekend or a week here are 5 of Michigan's top choices.