I just happened upon it. I had never heard of anything like it before but, there it was, plain as day on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website:

  • Extended urban archery: Jan. 2 – 31, 2024
    • This extended archery season occurs through Jan. 31 for Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne
      counties to manage ongoing human-deer conflicts. A deer license, deer combo
      license or antlerless deer license are valid during this extended season. All rules
      and regulations for the archery season apply.

After a quick search, I discovered this isn't the first time these Michigan counties have had an extended URBAN archery season. A pilot program was started in 2017 to reduce 'human / deer conflicts' in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, and was only scheduled to last through 2020. It was extended again in 2021 and has continued ever since.

The Well-Intended, but Worthless Michigan Extended Urban Archery Season

Michigan's URBAN ARCHERY DEER SEASON: What's the Point?

I give the DNR credit for a great name: Urban Archery conjures up images of hunting in areas where it isn't traditionally allowed, but that's not the case. All of the rules and regulations that apply to Michigan's traditional archery season apply, meaning that hunters still need to be 150 yards away from a home.

Related: THE END? 2023 Dismal Michigan Deer Harvest Numbers: 83 County Rank

So the extended 'Urban Archery' season, to reduce 'human / deer conflicts', sends hunters into traditional hunting areas in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. Grounds that have been hunted since mid-September on both public and private land. What's the point?

Michigan's URBAN ARCHERY DEER SEASON: What's the Point?

Michigan's Urban Archery season would greatly reduce 'human / deer conflicts' IF the rules were changed. Even if legions of hunters decided to take another shot at tagging their buck or doe, even without firearms, the foot traffic in the hunting areas only drives, or keeps, deer in 'safe areas', like parks, neighborhoods, and urban settings.

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Deer aren't stupid. If they were stupid, hunters wouldn't invest thousands into trail cams, food plots, and camouflage. The deer herd in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties will simply wait it out in the safety of the suburbs, and return to the woods once the hunters have left.

Michigan's URBAN ARCHERY DEER SEASON: What's the Point?

What's the solution? Give hunters a chance to hunt the parks. Counties, cities, and townships could place blinds a safe distance from homes within parks or neighborhoods that are within the traditional 150 yards from homes. These spots could be assigned via a lottery and give Michigan outdoor enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Related: Tradition is Killing Michigan's Whitetail Deer Season

What makes this solution even better is that municipalities could generate revenue via the lotteries for hunting spots instead of paying professional snipers to cull an area. Until some changes are made, and with a deer herd at or near 2 million, the 'human/deer conflicts' the DNR is looking to avoid are only going to increase (along with your car insurance rates).

2023 SEASON ENDING Michigan Deer Harvest Numbers: 83 County Rank

With all seasons closed in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties, the 'final' numbers for the 2023 Whitetail Deer Season can be analyzed. As of January 3, 2024, at 5:51 am, there were 272,997 deer harvested in Michigan. Let's countdown to the county that harvested the most whitetail in 2023.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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