Michigan widens northern farmers' deer hunt rights
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Farmers in five northern Lower Peninsula counties are getting a dispensation from Michigan to shoot deer as a way to reduce damage to their fruit trees and other crops.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved the hunts in Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.
Farmers have received special allowance for years under the Deer Management Assistance Permit, but only during normal hunting seasons.
This year, people getting the permits also can hunt for certain periods outside the firearms and bow-hunting seasons.
The system allows firearms hunting through much of the fall but excludes shooting deer Oct. 1-4 and Nov. 10-14.
State wildlife biologist Ashley Autenrieth says authorities have seen "a spike in damage" to farms in those counties.