Muzzle-loader deer season mixed


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Muzzle-loader deer season mixed

December 18, 2003


Michigan's muzzle-loader deer season seems to be going well in the northern Lower Peninsula. But in the farmlands of the southern counties, hunters report seeing fewer deer than usual.

Jack Millikin, owner of Skip's Sport Shop in Grayling, took time out from behind the counter to kill a 10-point buck a few miles from his hometown.

Brian Palmer, who works at Skip's, also has been hunting during the muzzle-loader season and said he has seen lots of deer and several bucks during his time in the woods.

"The deer are pretty much down in the swamps where you'd expect them to be at this time of year, feeding on the cedar," Palmer said. "I saw 16 deer on one trip and 12 or so on another. I've also seen a few smaller bucks, some spikes and a four-point and a six-pointer, and we've had three nice bucks brought in. They're still out there."

Tim Jennings, a sales representative for Ruger Firearms, owns a farm in Jackson County, an area famed for producing big deer with trophy-book antlers.

But his muzzle-loader experience has been that "we aren't seeing the deer we expected we would. I think they are out there, but they're just not moving. I guess that's not surprising after so many hunters have been in the woods. Those deer know what's going on."

Kevin Schupbach, who runs Schupbach's Sporting Goods in Jackson, said the hunters he has talked to say that "they're not seeing many deer. The season seems pretty flat. We had three bucks brought in during the first five days after the season started. That's pretty slow.

"I don't know if it's from so much hunting pressure, or maybe the deer numbers are down because they sold so many doe permits. I do know that the bucks they brought in looked good."

The season runs through Sunday in the Lower Peninsula. By Eric Sharp

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