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.
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.
2017 North Manitou Island Deer Hunt 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. Fees may also be paid by charge card or submitted through pay.gov at https://www.pay.gov/public/home.
- All hunters are required to check in with the rangers upon arrival on the island, attend the ranger orientation, and obtain a backcountry permit (no charge for permit).
- 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.
- Small wood burning stoves will be allowed only inside tents. Ashes must be cold when disposed of by burying.
- Carts and other wheeled devices are allowed for the North Manitou Island deer hunt but are restricted to one or two wheeled buck totes only.