8:59 AM EST, December 7, 2012
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The 2012 firearm deer hunting season harvest in Michigan appears similar to that of the 2011 season or up slightly, officials said.
The state Department of Natural Resources released a preliminary assessment on Thursday saying hunter reports from around the state have been mostly positive. An annual survey of hunters via mail should reveal more details, the state said.
"Some hunters in southern Michigan saw substantially fewer deer compared to last year," Brent Rudolph, DNR Wildlife Division Deer and Elk Program leader, said in a statement. "Yet we had pretty good conditions for hunters to enjoy their time afield."
DNR biologists estimate the harvest was up perhaps as much as 10 percent compared to 2011 across the Upper Peninsula and very similar to last year in the northern Lower Peninsula. Firearm deer hunting season started Nov. 15 and ran through Nov. 30.
Detailed numbers are expected to be released later.
The number of deer killed in the southern Lower Peninsula varied widely, with the forecast anywhere from 5 percent lower to 5 percent higher than 2011. There were limits across much of the area because of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, an insect-spread deer disease.
The disease isn't a threat to humans. It causes extensive internal bleeding in deer and is transmitted by a type of biting fly called a midge. Based on reports from hunters, the effect of the disease on the hunt appeared to be "highly localized," the DNR said.
Hunters who don't receive a survey in the mail can provide hunting information online once they have completed all of their 2012 hunting.