Deer regulations approved for 2023-2025 hunting seasons

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DNR News

June 13, 2023
Media contact: Chad Stewart, 517-282-4810

Deer regulations approved for 2023-2025 hunting seasons

A small group of white-tailed deer, one a mature buck with big antlers, stand in a field of golden grass against a dark forest backdrop

At last week’s meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Roscommon, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the commission approved the regularly scheduled three-year duration of deer regulations, which will be in effect for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 hunting seasons.

DNR deer program experts say that while many of the traditional regulations remain unchanged, there are several important updates aimed at enhancing deer hunting opportunities for Michigan deer hunters this year and beyond.

“There are many challenges facing deer hunting in Michigan and across much of the Midwest in the coming years,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk and moose management specialist. “While the approved regulations for the 2023-2025 deer seasons are geared toward increasing opportunities for a declining hunter base, we recognize that we’ll have to continue to evaluate all possible options to sustainably manage Michigan’s deer herd in the future.”

Updated regulations include:

  • Restricted tag of the deer combo license. The four-point antler point restriction on the restricted tag of the deer combo license has been reinstated in 19 Lower Peninsula counties: Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Lenawee, Mecosta, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee. Under the updated regulation, all deer combo licenses in southern Lower Peninsula counties will now have an unrestricted regular tag and a four-point restricted tag.
  • Liberty Hunt. Hunters participating in the Liberty Hunt, a firearm deer hunt on private or public land for youth and hunters with disabilities, will now be allowed to harvest more than one deer. While the limit for bucks remains at one, hunters can pursue multiple antlerless deer. It is important to note that a separate license will be required for each deer harvested during this hunt.
  • U.P. CWD Surveillance Zone. The Upper Peninsula Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Zone (including parts of Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties) has been removed. As a result, hunters in this area can resume baiting and feeding practices. The hunter's choice antler point regulations, which include an unrestricted tag for the deer license and point restrictions for the regular/restricted tag of the deer combo license, have been reinstated. The restrictions on the deer combo license are three points on a side for the regular tag and four points on a side for the restricted tag.
  • Late archery season and crossbows. The proposal to allow crossbows in the late archery season in the Upper Peninsula was rejected. That means hunters are still prohibited from using crossbows during the late archery season in the Upper Peninsula. This includes hunters in the previous CWD Surveillance Zone where crossbow use in the late archery season had previously been allowed.
  • Antlerless harvest in northern DMUs. The proposal to reinstate antlerless harvest opportunities in several northern deer management units (007, 031, 042, 048, 066, 127 and 131) using archery equipment was rejected. Antlerless harvest remains largely prohibited in those units, with exceptions only for qualified individuals during the Liberty Hunt and through Deer Management Assistance Permits, where authorized.

The DNR remains committed to ensuring sustainable and scientifically sound management of the state's deer population. For more on deer management, hunting opportunities and other resources, visit

Full summaries of approved deer regulations will be available closer to hunting season openers.

Note to editors: Photos of white-tailed deer are available for download/use. All photos courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources unless noted otherwise in individual photo caption details.

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