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U.P. Focus: Upper Peninsula firearm deer season opens with improvement over last year

LANSING— Michigan DNR staff said opening day of the firearm deer hunting season was improved in some parts of the Upper Peninsula over last year, based on reports from deer check stations.
    Across the region, temperatures reached the low 50s, with sunny skies, though lingering snow that had fallen earlier in the week remained on the ground in some places.
Last year, much of the northwestern part of the U.P. was buried under 3 to 4 feet of snow by opening day, in the wake of a strong winter storm that began Nov. 10 and continued for three days, followed by lake-effect snow showers.
    At the Marquette DNR check station, one deer was checked on opening day last November. This year, the Marquette station checked six deer, closer to the 10-year average of 10 deer brought in on opening day.
    “Last year, we didn’t really have a deer season here at Marquette,” said DNR wildlife technician Bill Rollo. “That deep snow shut things down in a lot of areas. Even if we have a poor season this year, it will be better than last year.”
    Last November, firearm deer hunters in the U.P. harvested 14,734 bucks and 1,574 antlerless deer for a total of 16,338 deer, down 38 percent from 2013.
    After three consecutive severe winters in the region, DNR biologists said hunters this firearm deer season should expect to see fewer deer in the U.P., especially in the 1 1/2-  and 2 1/2-year-old age classes.
    Numbers of deer checked Sunday at stations across the U.P. varied from nine at Escanaba, the six checked at Marquette, three at Crystal Falls and one each at Baraga and Shingleton.

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