Michigan has a long history of deer hunting. The state has the perfect natural habitat to call home for one of the largest deer populations. Because of this, Michigan has continuously been considered one of the best states to hunt whitetail deer. Naturally, Michigan also has one of the highest populations of hunters in the country. Of these hunters, 90% hunt deer. Along with deer, it’s very popular to hunt game animals throughout Michigan, like goose, pheasant, and hare.

For this post, we’re going to focus on the importance of whitetail deer hunting to the state’s history, as well as its importance to preserving the ecosystem of Michigan.


Whitetail Deer Facts

  • During some years, you can find over one million deer in Michigan. The deer in Michigan are often larger than you’d find in other parts of the country (a male buck can weigh over 150 pounds). This tends to attract more hunters to the state.


  • Michigan has historically had the perfect environment for deer, with plenty of forests, dense trees, and water sources. The state still has many large forests that have been well preserved over the last century, but industrialization has also left its mark. However, whitetail deer are very adaptable and have learned to manage and thrive as the states have become more developed over the last few centuries.


  • Not only do Michiganders love hunting whitetail deer, but it’s also become a popular place for out-of-staters to travel to. Roughly 20,000 people travel into the state a year to be able to hunt.


  • Michigan has separate rules for hunting male and female deer. Male deer can easily be found due to their antlers (at least one antler being more than three inches are considered to be antlered). Hunting antlered deer don’t have a large impact on Michigan’s deer population, so a hunter can get these deer from any area of the state and aren’t limited as to how many they can hunt.


  • Antlerless deer, however, are more regulated. These deer can only be hunted in certain areas of the state designated by the Deer Management Unit. In addition, hunters are only allowed to hunt a certain number per individual. To ensure that Michigan’s deer population continues to flourish, antlerless deer need to be protected from hunters.


Hunting Season

All year hunters in Michigan look forward to Fall and the start of deer hunting season. There are two different 2019 start dates for deer hunting in deer in the state of Michigan:

Archery:  Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1

Regular firearm: Nov. 15 – Nov. 30

Fall is the best time for deer hunting, both for hunters and Michigan’s wildlife. The majority of wildlife animals are born during the spring and summer, so the fall is when you’ll find animals in their best physical shape. Michigan’s dense woods have become an ideal hunting location in the fall when leaves drop and shrubbery is easier to see through.


Why Whitetail Hunting in Important

Hunting is a big tradition for families, especially those in Michigan. With such a high number of hunters in the state, Michigan has a very strong hunting culture that spans generations. Many throughout the country find hunting to be a good way to relax. It can also be a fun way to spend quality time outdoors with your family and friends. Many hunters grow up in families that hunt and teach them, which is something they look forward to passing on.

Having such a large number of deer can become an issue if they are not maintained. Without hunters, the whitetail deer in Michigan can easily become overpopulated. Deer no longer have many natural predators in their natural habitat, leaving it up to hunters to help keep their numbers manageable so they can live healthily.

Many hunters find that hunting keeps them closer to nature. Hunting allows you to spend hours enjoying the outdoors and to bring home food you caught yourself. Recently, people have started paying close attention to what’s in their food and where it came from. Hunters have a better understanding of natural food than others who purchase meat at the store.

Hunting whitetail deer continues to be a beloved and important pastime in Michigan. Those looking to experience one of the greatest hunts in the country should consider a Michigan whitetail hunt.