Unless something miraculous happens, it looks like the 2023 Michigan deer season(s) will be another down year for the sport. As of November 30, 2023, there have been a total of 219,636 deer taken out of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimated population of over 2 million.

Related: Which of Michigan's 83 Counties is #1 For Car-Deer Collisions?

With Michigan's deer herd growing and those willing to take time off from work or school dropping, something drastic must be done to cull the deer herd, or autobody shops will continue to make bank from the out-of-control population of whitetails.

Looking at 2023's Deer Season to Date Versus 2022's All-Season Totals

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To put it plainly, a lot is riding the muzzleloader season in Michigan if there is any hope of meeting or exceeding 2022's total of 303,082 whitetails taken. As of this article, that is 83,446 more deer that need to be harvested for the Department of Natural Resources to show that their 'efforts' to increase interest in the sport have paid off.

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The sport is a long way away from its heyday in 1998 when nearly 597,980 hunters purchased licenses and took to the wilds of Michigan to bag their trophy, or at least a delicious back strap and some sausage.

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I don't have the answer, but I do think holding the most popular day of the deer season, firearm opening day, on a weekend would help to infuse youth back into the sport. The liberty hunt in September, where youth have a weekend to take a deer on private or public land, doesn't have the same appeal as Michigan in November.

Related: Michigan Firearm Deer Season: Making Opening Day a 2nd Saturday

Whatever can be done to save the sport from its downward spiral will be welcomed with open arms by Michigan drivers whose insurance has gone up following multiple car-deer collisions. Let's take a county-by-county look at 2023's low turnout so far.

BUCKING Trends? Michigan Deer Harvest Not Even Close to 2022's

Numbers continue to show a downward trend for not only deer harvest in 2023 as compared to 2022, but the interest in and numbers of hunters taking part in the sport continue to drop. Here's a look at Michigan's 2022 vs 2023 Deers Season to date*.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Michigan Deer Season: Car v Deer, Which Kill More in Your County?

Between hunters and car-deer collisions, which one is responsible for thinning the herd more in your Michigan county? Using the Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer license sales from all seasons and crash data from MichiganTrafficCrashFacts.org, let's take a county-by-county look as we count down to the one with the most deer-involved crashes and compare that to the amount killed by hunters.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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