Michigan has a problem. We have way too many deer. Nationally, Michigan has the 2nd highest population of deer (for a full ranking of the 50 states by whitetail deer population, scroll to the bottom of this article).

Related: Tradition is Killing Michigan Whitetail Hunting

Michigan's growing herd of whitetail deer, while majestic, is a problem that is losing or has lost its biggest solution.

Michigan's Estimated Deer Population

Michigan has 2nd Largest Deer Population in US and It's a Problem
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Chad Stewart, deer, elk, and moose specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was asked in a recent interview with WEMU if the estimated deer herd was around 2 million (a number reported and attributed to the DNR in multiple reports)

I think that's fair. But, you know, whether it's 1.5 million, which can give you a pretty large error rate there. I couldn't say the difference, but I think it's easily safe to say that we have more than a million, and I certainly couldn't dispute 2 million.

To put that into perspective, just over 10 million people live in Michigan. That means there is a deer for every 5 people in the state. That said, the deer herd isn't evenly scattered throughout the Mitten.

Michigan's Deer Herd Prefer's 'Southern Exposure'

Michigan has 2nd Largest Deer Population in US and It's a Problem
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Michigan's whitetail deer herd predominantly calls the Lower Peninsula home, as does the majority of the state's population and agriculture. Michigan farmers suffer loss from the hungry deer, as does the natural ecosystem.

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By eating the forest vegetation to deer head-high perfection, they eliminate nesting areas for many of Michigan's birds. If these hungry herds are left to eat and multiply unchecked, the state and its population will feel the effects, both financially and potentially fatally for experienced and inexperienced drivers alike.

Related: Which of Michigan's 83 Counties is #1 For Car-Deer Collisions?

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Our state's deer population issues would normally be eliminated by an enthusiastic group of hunters. Unfortunately, Michigan's legion of blaze orange vests has been hung up as interest in the sport steadily (since 1998) dwindles.

Related: UPDATED and BLEAK: Michigan's 23 Deer Season Harvest by County

Until the State of Michigan and the DNR can bring interest and youth back to a sport whose current average age is 45, and going up, the deer population will grow. For now, it's up to the local county, city, and township agencies to manage the problem through 'deer culls'. We aren't the only state to deal with this issue, but the nation's number 1 state for deer, has a slightly larger geographic area to deal with. Read on to see how the states rank for deer.

Ranking 50 United States by Deer Population

The United States of America is home to one of the world's most impressive, and varied, deer herds. Using data gathered from each state by A-Z-Animals.com, let's count down to the state with the largest population of deer.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Michigan's Dismal 2023 Deer Season: County By County Look A-Z

Things are looking bleak for a once proud sport. With just one week to go, Michigan whitetail deer hunters (as limited and aging as they are), have a lot of work to do even to come close to last year's total deer harvest. Here's an alphabetical look, county by county, comparing this season's year-to-date total to 2022s.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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