Michigan Deer Hunters Sound Off on Controversial New Rule

by Shelby Scott

Deer season’s right around the corner for many outdoorsmen and women in the United States. However, a controversial new rule in Michigan has deer hunters of all ages sounding off.

According to a report from WXYZ Detroit, Michigan deer hunters will now be required to electronically report each deer killed to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The new initiative comes after years of having hunters report their kills via a snail-mail survey.

As simple as the new ruling sounds, the outlet reports it has caused an uproar in Michigan’s hunting community. The electronic reports appear pretty simple at first glance. After clicking the link, the DNR asks hunters to input their license number and date of birth before having them begin their report. Nevertheless, simplicity aside, many Michigan deer hunters have already begun speaking out.

“I don’t like it,” MI hunter Thomas Klimkowski said. “You don’t know if you’re going to have service where you are when you’re hunting. It’s a lot.”

Fortunately, hunters worried about reporting their harvests in a timely fashion have 72 hours to do so. Nevertheless, Klimkowski and others have further concerns about the new ruling. He claims it impinges upon a hunter’s personal freedoms.

“You’re buying the deer tag, right? All that deer needs is a tag and it’s done and over with, right?”

Actually, no. While a tag might legalize a hunter’s kill, reporting the harvest is still necessary as wildlife experts try to keep their annual harvest reports as accurate as possible. And, truthfully, the new method shouldn’t take up much of a hunter’s time; the outlet reports the DNR survey takes just three to five minutes to complete.

Some Michigan Deer Hunters Have Begun Championing the New Rule

While hunters like Thomas Klimkowski believe the DNR’s new method of tracking Michigan deer kills infringes upon their rights, others believe the new link could be beneficial.

Brian Mockeridge of Berkley, MI had a much more positive response to the ruling.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “All you’re doing is reporting an actual deer that you shot and harvested. So it’s not really your right to keep that private. They want to know how many deer you’ve killed because you’re only technically allowed to kill two.”

Whether or not Michigan deer hunters stand in support of the electronic reporting method, it’s already gone into effect for the 2022 season. That said, the DNR appears rather lenient this season, supporting education over the new rule rather than enforcement. That sentiment benefits veteran hunters like resident Larry Lasco as he shared with the outlet that he doesn’t have a cellphone, let alone cell or internet service near his hunting grounds. The DNR, however, already thought ahead regarding that issue as well, encouraging hunters’ companions to report the deer harvest for you if need be.

“I’ll fill it out,” Lasco said, “but my daughter will probably help me do it.”