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Deer hunters must now submit survey data, DNR says

Julia Hanslmaier

The regular firearm deer hunting season began Tuesday. Since the 1950s, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has mailed out surveys to random hunters. Those surveys are used to estimate deer populations.

Last year, only a third of hunters who were mailed a survey sent it back. The DNR said those low response rates can cause an inaccurate estimate of deer populations.

That’s why this year, a mobile app and website will be used to gather data from hunters.

And now, it’s mandatory.

Successful hunters are required to report their deer within 72 hours. Failure to do so could mean a 90-day misdemeanor charge and a fine between $50 and $500.

But the DNR said it hopes to emphasize education on the new policy for this season – rather than enforcing charges and fines.

The department hopes to gather more consistent harvest reports with the app. And in turn, better data for regulating next year’s hunt.