Deer Hunting on North Manitou Island
In 1926 four male and five female deer were introduced to the island with the hope that they would multiply to a number large enough for hunting. Since then the deer population has grown significantly due to lack of predation and artificial winter feeding supported for many years by the previous island owners. By 1981 there were an estimated 2,000 deer on the island. The island vegetation could not sustain such a large herd, so many deer starved. The surviving deer over browsed the island, eating all of the Yew and young Maple trees. Through reduction of the deer herd by hunting, the vegetation has recovered to some extent. Hunts (by permit only) have occurred annually since 1985.
Hunt Statistics from 1986 through 2016 (pdf file)
A special deer hunt is conducted on North Manitou Island to control the deer herd and preserve the natural vegetation. A park hunting permit, along with a current Michigan deer hunting license, is required to participate in this hunt. In issuing these permits, the park superintendent serves as the agent of the Department of Natural Resources to implement the deer hunt on North Manitou Island. Permits are not transferable.
Each hunter must send in an individual application. A NON-REFUNDABLE $25.00 APPLICATION FEE IS REQUIRED FOR EACH HUNT PERIOD BEFORE A PERMIT WILL BE PROCESSED. MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. GROUPS MAY SEND ONE CHECK FOR ALL THE HUNT APPLICATIONS IN THEIR PARTY.
There is no bag limit on the number or sex of the deer that can be taken. Deer taken legally on North Manitou Island shall not count against the hunter's regular deer season bag limit on the mainland. Park rangers shall affix a special North Manitou Island deer seal to each legally taken deer by the time the hunter leaves the island with the deer.
2016 Hunt Dates
Permits to hunt deer on North Manitou Island shall be issued in the following numbers for the following dates:
Bow: October 1 through October 28, 2016
Firearm (Muzzleloader and Rifle): October 29 through November 13, 2016
Manitou Island Transit will transport hunters to the island on Saturday, October 29 and pick them up on Saturday, November 5.
All hunters are required to attend the ranger orientation, obtain a backcountry permit and check in with the rangers upon arrival on the island.
The baiting of deer on North Manitou Island is prohibited.
All firearm hunters are required to wear hunter orange at all times in accordance with Michigan Department of Natural Resources regulations.
Wilderness management restrictions apply to camping on the Island. Camping fees on North Manitou Island will not be charged during the hunt.
Small wood burning stoves will be allowed only inside tents. Ashes must be cold when disposed of by burying.
Use of Wheeled Buck Totes
Carts and other wheeled devices are allowed for the North Manitou Island deer hunt and are restricted to one or two wheeled buck totes only.