MUSKEGON COUNTY - Ask an unsuccessful hunter this season the reason why he or she failed to bag a buck, and they'll likely tell you the weather is to blame. Wednesday, Nov. 30, marked the end of the 2016 firearm deer season.
Hunters say it was a season with a number of challenges, mostly the warm and wet weather.
Based strictly on anecdotal evidence the Michigan Department of Natural Resources believes the 2016 firearm deer hunt will be down and the archery hunt up.
For Muskegon County butcher John Drummond, the annual hunt is an opportunity to pick up extra business at his shop.
But this November, fewer hunters had deer to process.
"Don't know if people were not out hunting on opening day, but I'm hearing a lot that it is slow," said Drummond, owner of John Drummond's Butcher Shop.
Wednesday morning, Drummond was processing what could be the final two deer of the season.
"I guarantee it, it is down," Drummond said.
Besides being a full time butcher Drummond is also a deer hunter. He, too, has noticed fewer deer.
"We need snow, and the last couple of years we ain't been getting it," said Harold Wright from Newaygo County.
Wright was hunting Wednesday with his brother and nephew. He calls the 2016 hunt, "a rotten one."
The DNR's deer season forecast called for a slight increase in success rates for hunters compared to the last year. Biologists believed the mild 2015 winter resulted in larger deer and bucks with larger antler growth.
The Wrights say those deer might be out there, but they are not seeing them, and the warm weather might be the reason why the deer aren't on the move.
"Get in the truck and it says 50-degrees, and that's unbelievable," said Charles Wright of Muskegon County.
The weather has been foggy, and the 15-day season has had lots of heavy rain. It's got Charles Wright longing for what he calls the good old days.
"You might see 30-deer go across in one bunch, now you will be luck to see one," he said.
The DNR does do a full analysis of the 2016 deer hunt, but that report isn't finalized until the spring.
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