MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — State officials say hunters in the Upper Peninsula bagged fewer deer during firearm season but came away with high-quality bucks.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said Friday that preliminary deer check station data shows a drop of about 13.5 percent through the season that ended Monday. Wildlife officials predicted a drop after three consecutive severe winters in the region.
While the number of bucks being checked was down overall, check stations saw a high proportion of mature bucks.
The Escanaba station was down about 25 percent from last year; Marquette increased roughly 20 percent.
Officials say a continuing warmer-than-average trend could help the herd recover.
Earlier this year, wildlife policy makers approved restrictions to antlerless deer hunting during bow season in the peninsula as the whitetail population plummeted.