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May 14, 2008

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Discussion Topic: On Soaring Food Prices And Cheap Venison

From the Michigan’s Jackson Citizen Patriot:

With food prices rising sharply, the Department of Natural Resources is offering some relief for families that enjoy venison.

Hunters this fall can legally kill up to seven deer each, which would provide 350-500 pounds of lean, high-protein meat.

The Natural Resources Commission voted to increase the quota for antlerless deer from three to five per hunter in the 2008 seasons that start with archery season Oct. 1 in southern Michigan.

What do you think? Should food prices factor into deer-tag quotas? Do you think you save money on food by hunting?


Dan D.

I think deer meat helps me save on food. I've run the numbers several times, but once you get by "start-up" costs, ie. gun/bow, gear. etc, my hunting isn't really that expensive.

Here in CT I buy a combo License for $25, a private land shotgun/rifle deer license for $14, and a private land muzzleloader license for $14. Ammo for the year, both hunting and shooting cost about $100.

Both licenses have 2 tags each, one antlerless, one either/or. In the zone I hunt in, on private land, we can get as many replacement tags for FREE as we want. The average doe costs about $65 to butcher around here. After 2 or 3 does (30-40lbs of meat each), you're looking at a total of $325 for about 90-100lbs of meat.

Hell even a 100lbs of just chopped beef is gonna cost you $400 at $4 a pound. I think I make out like a bandit for meat thats a lot more healthy, and in my opinion, if prepared right, tastes just as good.



If the deer populations can handle the increased pressure, I think it's a great idea. But setting bag limits based solely on food prices is a recipe for disaster. Game species must be carefully managed to avoid over-hunting. However, if the increase in animals taken remains compensatory, then I see no problem with it.


It's great that hunters can feed themselves and others in need. It seems like the same number of deer will be killed by passing cars or hunters anyway and I wish PA would follow with a similar law.


Michigan has a severe overpopulation of does.

This isn't related directly to meeting the "needs" of people. This is a way to market the need to address an overpopulation of deer and provide people with good quality meat in the process.

My wife has given me grief for years over the "cost per pound" of venision vs other meats, but how do you put a price on the experience?



This situation looks like a win-win deal. The Midwestern states have had high deer populations, so offering additional antlerless tags will help address that situation.
Is hunting economical, I think it is. I do not think that the numbers of tags issued should be tied to food prices, it should be determined by the herd size and habitat carrying capacity.
Here's an idea; states could offer a special tag, color coded (unique), antlerless only, which the animal tagged would be designated to be taken to a (participating) butcher shop and then the meat forwarded to a food bank or food pantry to help others. Several programs exist toward this goal, but a designated tag may let hunters who have meat for their freezer hunt for a few more days and help someone else in the end. Do any states already offer this?


In Ohio the hunting license is about $25 and each of the three deer tags are about $20. That is $85 per year and I got three does last year. I know it worked out. Besides you figure that part of the money you spend to hunt is just for fun anyway which makes the meat that much cheaper.


Read the comment by wes it's the best way to sum this up. Hopefully no problems will become of this and the deer populations will be able to hold up as a result of a larger number being taken. But hey it's nice to see more hunt'n opportunities open up.


Blue Ox

With meat being THE staple food in my diet, I see it as a win-win situation for me. I do all the butchering myself, so all I really pay for is the license and the tag.


In Michigan, its certainly "win win". Our forests are overbrowsed, our farms are suffering and our deer herds are less healthy because of the high population. I would favor each deer license being good for one buck and one doe. Unfortunately, our DNR has opted for a lottery system for private land doe permits because the previous years, these permits were sold over the counter, and they always sold out early. Why not just make more doe permits available?

pete bredstrup

I think this is a great idea. Here in Florida you can shoot both bucks and does durind bow season.But during rifle season you must have a tag to shoot does.There is a great surplus of deer down here and if they would give out more doe tags that could save people a lot of money in meet cost, especialy since most people proccess the meet themselves.


Its about damn time the idiots that run the show in MI raised the amount of anterless tags....this is something that should have been done MANY years ago...especially in southern lower MI. MAYHAPS NOW (a few years down the road actually) we will once again begin to see quality bucks, that once were a normal sight, in the herd!

jason k

deer quotas shouldn't be based on food prices they should be based on the freakn deer population but if theres enough deer then its good for everybody

don mitchell

I agree with Wes on this one, i live and hunt in the northern lower mich.,and back in the late 70s&80s the hurd was all most wiped out because of over hunting. i just dont trust the mich.DNR,I hope it works.


Unfortunately with the amount that I have to drive to my hunting areas I'm not convinced that I'm saving that much money on meat cost anymore. When gas wasn't close to $4 bucks a gallon it was more economical. It's still probably cheaper to harvest your own venison than to buy beef but not as much as it used to be. We should never manage our populations of game based on economics. The poorer the economy is the poorer the population size and quality of the herd will be.


if there was more deer it would be a good idea. but there is not


being a michigan hunter I am all for the change since I believe the doe numbers are out of control especially in southern michigan. Lets not fool ourselves though...the economy is terrible in michigan and I have never known the michigan dnr to make any decisions without money-or ways to generate money-being at the top of the agenda.

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