Michigan is one of the top states in the country for deer hunting. One recent study found that it contributes nearly $9 billion into its economy, so there’s no doubt that this is a place of passionate deer hunters.
But the very best places to hunt in Michigan can be found among this list.
The Wilderness of the Upper Peninsula
One of the most breathtaking regions in the country is wild, rugged, covered in state and national forests, and home to abundant whitetail. Hunting pressure is relatively light, especially during bow season, and there’s a ton of acres for hunters to explore. The highest deer numbers can be found in its southern portions, but further north on the Keweenaw Peninsula are some giant northern-strain bucks.
The Northern Stretch of the Lower Peninsula
Just south of the Mackinac Bridge is some of the most legendary hunting grounds in Michigan. This area is inhabited by hundreds of traditional deer camps with many hunters making a pilgrimage here every fall. While the Upper Peninsula does have slightly high deer numbers, there’s a little more pressure during the firearm season.
Gratiot County is just north of Lansing. Deer Management Unit 29, more than 5,800 deer were harvested among some 6,768 hunters in 2017, or 8.6 of the animals per 10 hunters. That’s the highest number in the entire state, with deer thriving here which is why the harvest supervisor noted that they’re actually trying to get hunters to take more deer in this area.
Grand Traverse County
In lower northern Michigan, Grand Traverse truly tops the list – there are few others that can even compete as its one of the top when it comes to commemorative buck entries and held the state record for archery bucks for many years. In 1985, there was a nearly 182-inch 12 pointer taken. It’s also the place where a 215-inch typical was said to be bagged in 1998, though it was never entered into a record book. Whether the legend is true or not, this is still a great spot to hunt with plenty of forested land for those hoping to take a monster on public territory.
Southern Michigan is farm country. This is the home of many of the state’s largest bucks, with the abundance of agriculture resulting in outstanding nutrition for the animals most of the year, while forests are filled with hardwoods producing mast. It’s also the most developed area of the state which means more broken tracts of habitat and there are fewer areas of good land available, limiting public hunting opportunities. However, Hillsdale has become known in more recent years for its big bucks, like the 2004 nearly 226-inch non-typical bow buck taken by Aaron Davis.