Antler point restrictions, a hotly debated topic to be sure, have again popped up on the radar. And this time in my home state of Michigan. A 3 point per side restriction has been in place for one Northwest Michigan county for the past 5 years or so and now a proposal is out to expand this restriction to 12 additional counties. I’ve included more details regarding the proposal below.

I personally am all for this – but an explanation of why is probably worth a full article in itself. For now – read below for details regarding the upcoming proposal – and join the NW MI Antler Restriction Proposal facebook group  or check out the BetterMIBucks website to stay up to date on the latest with this initiative!

Let us know what you think about this proposal in the comments section as well!

“The Northwest Michigan Quality Deer Management Association (NW MI QDMA) has proposed an expansion of the current Leelanau County (DMU 045) antler restriction regulations to the NRC/DNR. These regulations place a 3-point per side restriction, and 4-point per side restriction, under the current combination tag. The proposed expansion of these regulations would include Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford counties.

The numbers don’t lie.
In general: Older deer are bigger deer in both body size and antler development. Creating a deer herd that is well balanced in age class as well as Buck to Doe ratios can be a benefit to hunters and the entire herd. The Leelanau County antler restriction program is proof of this. In just a few short years, the program has yielded incredible results.

Consider the facts:

Leelanau County Buck Harvest Average, 2006-2010 (data provided through DNR check stations)

1.5 years of age: 32%
2.5 years: 29%
3.5 years: 27%
4.5 years: 12%

Compare these numbers to those of the proposed 12 counties averaged.

61% of the bucks harvested in those 12 counties were 1.5 years of age.
2006-2010 (data provided through DNR check stations)

It’s more than just bigger bucks.
When we sportsmen and women harvest mature deer, we’re helping the entire herd. We’re giving smaller bucks a chance to grow. We’re helping to achieve a more balanced Buck to Doe ratio. We’re also helping to maintain deer populations at levels that are more sustainable based on habitat. These are the main goals for the expansion of antler restrictions to the additional 12 NW Michigan counties.

What now?
The NRC has approved our proposal to move through the process for implementation. The first part of this process is to hold public meetings to inform the general public of this proposal. After these meetings, a random survey of hunters within the proposed area will be completed by the DNR to determine whether the proposal passes or fails.

This is where you come in!
If you receive one of the surveys, please fill it out, and answer YES.

The survey must achieve a 66% approval in order for the restriction to go into effect for the 2013 hunting season. After a five year trial period, a follow up survey will be completed to determine if the restriction stays in effect.

Your support is critical. This is our one chance to greatly improve hunting in northwest lower Michigan….and possibly the entire state of Michigan.

Better Bucks?
Better Hunting?
Better Vote Yes.”