White-Tailed Deer


White-Tailed Deer

  • Found in every Michigan county
  • Most live in female-led family groups
  • Like cows, deer have four stomachs

The Need for Management

Too many deer adapting to and encroaching upon urban and suburban residential areas can be disruptive to both deer and human populations in many ways:

  • Deer wandering onto busy highways can cause deadly accidents for motorists.
  • The potential spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) is one of the most important reasons for deer population management. Left unchecked, CWD could have a great negative effect on Michigan’s deer herd.

Management Results

The deer population was estimated at 1.75 million in 2016 through 2018 – up from an estimated 1.58 million deer in 2015. Conservationists are now working toward reducing the fall herd to 1.3 million deer to balance the population with habitat resources.

Management Activities

To achieve balance between the needs of the deer and the needs of the people of Michigan, management of the deer herd takes many forms:

  • Regulated hunting helps prevent overpopulation since there are few remaining natural predators of deer in Michigan.
  • To keep deer from lingering in populated areas and spreading disease, rules and regulations have been put in place to prevent feeding and baiting deer.
  • Testing deer for CWD is an ongoing effort. As of February 2019, Michigan has tested over 60,000 deer and found 118 confirmed cases since May 2015.
  • Regulated hunting is not only an effective means to control the deer population, but also effectively contributes to analysis and prevention of the spread of CWD when hunters bring in their deer to be tested.
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