2012-12-06 / Front Page

Hunting success

DNR: 2012 deer numbers expected to increase

MANISTIQUE – With the official end of the firearm deer season on Nov. 30 and the final weeks of late archery season now underway, the DNR is predicting U.P. hunters are having a good year.

According to Kevin Swanson, DNR habitat biologist from the Cusino/Shingleton Field Office, while the data is not yet finalized, certain variables are pointing toward a successful U.P. hunting season. One of these variables has been the weather, he added.

“We’ve had three mild winters back to back now,” Swanson said. “We’ve seen a continuing trend upward in deer numbers and better antler development. That continued this year.”

With this mild weather contributing to good antler development, he explained larger bucks have been checkedin this season. Other factors, such as the deer’s successful evasion from predators like coyotes, wolves and bears, also come into play.

“Things continue to look good,” Swanson explained. “Some of the check stations in the U.P. are way, way up, and some are about what they were at last year.”

The increased traffic to check stations varies from place to place, but he explained most are experiencing the jump. While last year’s season was also good, Swanson said he expects the numbers from this year to overshadow that harvest.

“I would say that there are more deer being registered than last year,” he explained. “Some of the check stations, like Marquette, were up 30 percent over last year. Here at Cusino, we’re up about 20 percent over what we were last year.”

While the Cusino Field Office will no longer register deer now that the firearm deer season is over, Swanson said area hunters can still bring their harvest to the Newberry Field Office. He also noted that some area hunters may soon be receiving a survey regarding this year’s hunt.


The DNR is predicting this hunting season in the Upper Peninsula was a successful one. For local hunters Travis Whaling, Jr., top, Levi Lakosky, center, and Andrew Martz, this was certainly the case. The three were also named the winners of the 2012 Buck Contest. Martz took home a digital game camera from Top O’ Lake Sport Shop; Whaling, Jr. a Carhartt gift certificate from the Peoples Store; and Lakosky won a dozen roses from The Flower Shop at Ben Franklin. Their names were drawn from dozens of other area entries. The DNR is predicting this hunting season in the Upper Peninsula was a successful one. For local hunters Travis Whaling, Jr., top, Levi Lakosky, center, and Andrew Martz, this was certainly the case. The three were also named the winners of the 2012 Buck Contest. Martz took home a digital game camera from Top O’ Lake Sport Shop; Whaling, Jr. a Carhartt gift certificate from the Peoples Store; and Lakosky won a dozen roses from The Flower Shop at Ben Franklin. Their names were drawn from dozens of other area entries. “We have an east U.P. and west U.P. deer camp survey that is sent to many, many different camps and individual hunters throughout the U.P.,” Swanson explained. “We get a lot of data from that.”

The surveys will be sent out in the next month, he added, and will provide the DNR with data about hunter success rates, the average number of deer seen per day, and the fawn to doe ratio.

“That’s all important information for us to consider,” Swanson said. “We would like to get more people on that survey.”

Swanson also explained hunters can expect to see different antler restrictions for next year’s season, as the U.P. Deer Advisory Team is currently addressing the issue.

“They’re looking at many different ways to try to get more 2 ½ year old bucks in the population,” he said. “We can do a better job, there’s no doubt about it. We could get some older bucks in our age structure and that’s what we want to do.”

The team, made up of area sportspeople, will make a recommendation to the DNR following their meetings.

For more information on this year’s deer harvest, the U.P. deer camp survey, or the U.P. Deer Advisory Team, contact Kevin Swanson at (906) 452-6227, ext. 230.

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