New patch commemorates program’s 50 years
MARQUETTE — This year marks 50 years of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ deer management cooperator patch, which was first produced in 1972.
Brian Shaw of downstate Spring Arbor created the winning 2022 deer patch design, which commemorates the patch’s five decades, the DNR announced.
The annual deer patch design contest is open to everyone and takes place in the spring. Artists can submit their original work showing deer or deer hunting in Michigan.
Hunters who want a patch to commemorate the deer season can purchase one online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses, or from the DNR Hunt Fish mobile app, for $8 while supplies last.
Historically, hunters who brought their harvested deer into a DNR deer check station received a patch in exchange for the biological data collected by DNR staff. These data included sex, age, location, date of harvest and even biological samples for disease testing. Staffed disease sample submission stations will still be open in areas where disease monitoring is taking place.
Hunters harvesting a deer in those areas will receive a notification after reporting their deer harvest online.
Online harvest reporting is a new requirement of every successful deer hunter to report their deer harvest through the DNR website or mobile app beginning this year. The DNR indicated that the system will allow it a near real-time estimate of deer harvest as it occurs, something Michigan has never experienced before.
Hunters will be required to report their harvest within 72 hours and before transferring possession of the deer to another person, processor or taxidermist.
Since the 1950s, the DNR used mail surveys sent to randomly selected hunters to estimate harvest. Estimates were accurate if the hunters responding to surveys were representative of all hunters, with this assumption generally easier to make when most hunters in the sample respond to the survey. However, the DNR said the proportion of hunters returning mail surveys declined from an average of more than 70% in the early 2000s to 33% in 2021.
Low response rates can lead to inaccurate estimates, it said, and because declining response rates were not likely to reverse, another approach to estimating harvest was needed.
More information on mandatory deer harvest reporting, disease surveillance and deer hunting are available at Michigan.gov/Deer.
At Michigan.gov/DNRHarvestReport, individuals who want to report a harvest should enter their DNR license number and date of birth and click Begin Report. Those who do not have their license number may log in to eLicense, and then click on the Harvest Report tab to see available and completed reports.
Hunters must continue to attach a DNR-issued kill tag to a harvested deer. The kill tag should remain with the head if the head and body of the deer are separated. Anyone in possession of a deer after the harvest-reporting timeframe expires should be able to present the confirmation number.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is email@example.com.