DNRE collecting deer harvest surveys
MICHIGAN — The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is once again asking hunters about their preferred start date for the deer season opener and hopes to get increased participation in survey responses.
“We want everyone to participate,” DNRE Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said.
Mason said response rates are down compared to past years’ surveys. The response on pheasant surveys, for instance, has gone from a 90 percent response rate to about a 30-40 percent response rate over the past decade or so.
The DNRE also periodically asks hunters about their preference for the firearm deer hunting season opener, which is usually on Nov. 15. The survey asks if hunters would prefer a weekend opener close to Nov. 15 or if they would like to stay with the normal opening date.
Mason said about 70 percent of hunters surveyed in past years have preferred the Nov. 15 start date, and the responses are looking similar this year.
Mason said the Natural Resources Commission appreciates people’s responses to the survey, and it would like to hear from more of the 750,000 hunters in Michigan.
“It’s important if they want to have their voice heard,” Mason said.
The surveys are sent out to a sample of around 50,000 people who bought Michigan deer licenses, and Mason said the department will remind those people up to three times about the survey.
The survey is also available online, and a recent report from the DNRE stated that only 5 percent of hunters had taken the online survey.
Survey responses are not only used to estimate the deer harvest but are also utilized in determining hunter satisfaction with the season.
The online version of the survey can be found on the DNRE’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnr under the title “Online Harvest Reporting Option” on the main page.