Michigan sportsmen have long fancied themselves among the elite in the nation. The men and women who hunt and fish in Michigan think that they have it pretty damn good but a new report actually puts Michigan among the very worst hunting states and puts the blame at the feet of those that hunt here.

The report by Wide Open Spaces identifies Michigan and it’s long and proud hunting heritage. The website also says it’s placement on this list is sure to earn the ire of many of the state’s 700,000 hunters.

Wide Open Spaces writes it this way: In addition to being one of the coldest states Michigan ranks second nationally in the percentage of yearling bucks harvested in 2013 (59% of all bucks harvested). In fact, only 17% of the bucks harvested in Michigan in 2013 were three and a half years old or older (third lowest nationally). The prospect of enduring adverse conditions and a large amount of competition for a relatively small chance at mature buck earns Michigan a second place ranking.

There is a solution that many won’t like but would take Michigan off this list and put us among the elite hunting states like Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Ohio. These states and others consistently produce large trophy whitetails. Why? Because they are one buck states, period. Michigan’s two buck limit continues to destroy the resource before it ever gets started. If Michigan hunters ever expect to have a real chance of trophy whitetails it begins with letting some of the young guys live.

You don’t have to like it but it is the truth.