DETROIT (FOX 2) - Hunters will have 72 hours to report that they killed a deer to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources this season.
The need for precise data was a big motivator to make this change, the DNR said.
"The decline in response rate to our post-season mail surveys increases the amount of uncertainty in our harvest estimates, which can lead to incorrect regulation recommendations in some locations," said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk and moose management specialist.
Hunters will be required to report the kill tag license number that was attached to the deer, the hunter’s date of birth, the exact harvest location, the type of deer harvested (fawn/antlered/adult doe), number of antler points (if a buck), and date of kill.
"Twenty years ago, 75% of recipients responded to the survey, but in recent years we have seen a response rate consistently under 40%," said Brian Frawley, the DNR wildlife biologist managing the survey. "If we’re going to provide hunters, wildlife managers and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission with timely, accurate data, we need to change how we collect it."
If a hunter does not have access to internet service or a smartphone, they can give the required information to a family member or friend to input it for them, the DNR said.
"While we will have near real-time harvest data available for hunters throughout the season on our website, that data is at the county level," Stewart said. "Only the DNR will have access to the GPS coordinates of the actual harvest location, which is needed for two very important reasons: more effective disease surveillance, and the ability to build a network of harvest locations over time, so we can adapt management guidelines to better align with harvest numbers. That means better overall management recommendations for Michigan’s deer population."
Failing to report your kill is a 90-day misdemeanor that carries fines ranging from $50 to $500.
Hunters with questions about the new requirement can check the FAQ page here.