Online harvest reporting starts with upcoming deer hunting season

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Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:03 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - In 2021, almost 7,000 deer hunters reported their harvest online to help the Michigan Department of Natural Resources test its new reporting system.

Starting the fall 2022 hunting season, online harvest reporting is required for all hunters who successfully take a deer.

Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk, and moose management specialist, talked about the multiple reasons why they are moving to online harvesting.

“The decline in response rate to our post-season mail surveys increases the amount of uncertainty in our harvest estimates, which can lead to incorrect regulation recommendations in some locations,” Stewart said.

Brian Frawley manages the surveys for the DNR. He agrees with Stewart.

“Twenty years ago, 75 percent of recipients responded to the survey, but in recent years we have seen a response rate consistently under 40 percent,” Frawley said. “If we’re going to provide hunters, wildlife managers and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission with timely, accurate data, we need to change how we collect it.”

Hunters have up to three days after taking a deer to report it in the online harvest. The DNR said it will take about five minutes to complete the report.

There are two ways to report it:

Report online at

Download and use the new DNR app.

Hunters will not be able to report by phone because the DNR is looking for the most accurate harvest location. There is a digital map hunters can use on the website.

Stewart explained why the accurate location is important for the DNR.

“While we will have near real-time harvest data available for hunters throughout the season on our website, that data is at the county level,” Stewart said. “Only the DNR will have access to the GPS coordinates of the actual harvest location, which is needed for two very important reasons: more effective disease surveillance, and the ability to build a network of harvest locations over time so we can adapt management guidelines to better align with harvest numbers. That means better overall management recommendations for Michigan’s deer population.”