Source: Sherman Publications

Baiting returns as archery deer season opens

by David Fleet

September 21, 2011

The general 2011 Michigan archery deer season opens statewide Oct. 1 and area hunters should find conditions just right, say Department of Natural Resources officals.

Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources big game specialist, said don’t expect the change in baiting laws to impact hunting results in every location.

“It’s been three years since baiting has been allowed in the state,” said Rudolph. “We (the DNR) wanted to keep the ban in effect; however, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission thought otherwise. Perhaps hunters in northern Michigan where food is a real issue may notice an improvement regarding seeing deer over bait, but not the southern counties. It’s simple—there’s plenty to eat down state.”

Several area stores have deer bait available.

“Sales of bait has picked up as hunting season draws near,” said Paul Amori, manager of Hamilton’s of Ortonville, 465 Mill St..

“Many residents feed the deer in the backyard just to watch them. However, feed sales will pick up more as hunting season comes around. Later in October beets and apples will be available for the hunters. We also can help grow deer plots— that really helps more than anything to keep the deer in the area. Remember, the limit for hunting is only two gallons of feed. If you want the big deer to hang around your area—grow a deer feed plot. We can help you get that started at Hamiltons.”

With or without bait, hunters can expect to see plenty of deer, added Rudolph

In 2010, the southeastern region of Michigan, which includes Huron, Bay, Tuscola Saniliac, Saginaw, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Livingston, Oakland, Jackson, Washtenaw, Wayne, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties, reported about 14,900 antlerless deer and 15,400 bucks taken.

“We’re not expecting a big jump in deer kill for 2011,” said Rudolph. “A significant factor could be last winter, we’ve had a lot of snow, but not enough to play a significant impact on the deer herd. Deer are well adapted to inclement weather mid-winter; however, a rainy spring may have played a bigger role in the fawn population. Or even a snowy cold fall could impact the deer herd.”

Another factor, said Rudolph, is the use of a crossbow, which could be used statewide in 2009.

“The success rate is just a few percentage points higher for those that use a crossbow to hunt. The cost could be a factor and many hunters just prefer the traditional compound bow,” he said. “So far there has not been a major change statewide.”

“Still, conditions are very good for deer hunting this October,” he said. “Hunters need to pay close attention to early and special hunting seasons. Check out for more details. The last few years the DNR has provided some early seasons, look for them next year.”