Mackinaw City Pure Michigan

Oh Deer…Firearm Hunting Season Through the Straits

Posted on November 1st, 2019

Since first opening in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has counted the number of deer taken south across the bridge during Michigan’s firearm deer season. This information helps the DNR index the size of the deer herd in the as well as the success of the firearm deer season in the Upper Peninsula.

Over the past 60+ years, those counts collectively total 278,250. The all-time high came in 1995, when 18,887 deer were tallied. Other prime years were 1959 (16,056 deer), 2000 (14,445), 1964 (13,335) and 1958 (13,065). More than 10,000 deer were also counted in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1996 and 2000.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (M-DNR) recently released its 2019 prediction report, which states that “with overall deer numbers being low in the U.P., buck sightings have been limited. Those that have been observed look very healthy and antler development appears average for the region.”

Overall, throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, hunting (including deer and other mammals) is big business. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs report that the statewide economic impact of hunting is $8.9 billion (with 700,000 hunters) and combined with fishing put Michigan the top state in the Great Lakes region – generating more than $11.2 billion annually. This includes licenses, gear, clothing, hotels, meals and more.

According to the DNR, the 2018 hunting seasons (bow, firearm and muzzleloader) brought out more than 554,300 hunters statewide who spent a combined 7.5 million days afield and bagging more than 360,000 deer (bucks and does).

Michigan’s 2019 archery season for deer is now underway and the firearm deer season in Michigan runs November 15-30, 2019.

Mackinac Bridge Deer Crossing Totals (1957-2018)

1957       9,224

1958       13,065

1959       16,056

1960       9,798

1961       5,962

1962       9,700

1963       11,894

1964       13,355

1965       11,050

1966       10,093

1967       9,528

1968       8,283

1969       7,250

1970       3,084

1971       4,251

1972       2,466

1973       2,885

1974       3,404

1975       3,784

1976       3,175

1977       2,618

1978       3,157

1979       2,841

1980       2,695

1981       3,313

1982       3,128

1983       3,393

1984       3,922

1985       5,378

1986       4,713

1987       6,036

1988       7,960

1989       9,279

1990       8,450

1991       9,361

1992       8,581

1993       7,328

1994       8,903

1995       18,887

1996       10,900

1997       4,992

1998       6,800

1999       9,703

2000       14,445

2001       8,073

2002       8,221

2003       8,091

2004       6,598

2005       6,098

2006       5,819

2007       6,346

2008       6,813

2009       3,942

2010       4,092

2011       5,731

2012       6,460

2013       4,207

2014       2,233

2015       1,500

2016       1977

2017       2991

2018       3317

 

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