Antler Point Restriction FAQs - "The APR Corner"

Welcome to the APR corner!

You asked, we answered! This is intended to help answer questions that you may have about Antler Point Restrictions (APR) in Michigan. If you are not able to find the answer to your question please send us an email with your question to: dnr-wildlife@michigan.gov

  1. What is an antler point restriction (APR)?
  2. What is the history of APRs in Michigan?
  3. What is the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) position on APRs?
  4. How is an APR different from Quality Deer Management (QDM)?
  5. Where in Michigan do we have APRs?
  6. What is the difference between an APR and Hunter’s Choice?
  7. Are there any areas in Michigan currently under evaluation for an APR?
  8. How does an APR qualify as sound scientific management under Proposal G?
  9. What are the costs and benefits of an APR?
  10. What is the process to get an area under a mandatory APR?
  11. How are people chosen to partake in the survey?
  12. How many people are chosen to participate in the survey and where does that number come from?
  13. Why is the DNR not letting me hunt what I want on my land?
  14. How long will this be in effect?
  15. How can I oppose or support a proposed or existing APR? 
  16. What happens if I shoot something that I thought had 3 points (or thought was a doe) and it only has 2 points (or it’s actually got a 5” spike!) once I approach it?
  17. How many check stations will be in the APR areas?
  18. Do other permits such as Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAPs) and out-of-season kill permits have to follow APRs?
  19. Why don’t we ask every hunter?
  20. What is a super majority?
  21. Can I still take an antlerless deer with my combo or archery license?
  1. What is an antler point restriction (APR)?
    • An APR is a tool used to protect an age class of bucks from being harvested in order to graduate them to the next age class by only allowing hunters to harvest bucks with a certain number of antler points on a side. Check station data are used to determine for any proposed area the minimum number of antler points necessary to protect at least half of yearling (1.5 year-old) bucks.
  2. What is the history of APRs in Michigan?
  3. What is the Department of Natural Resources'(DNR) position on APRs?
    • The DNR supports voluntary implementation of APRs on private land and will only recommend mandatory implementation if there is a clear majority (66% or more) of support within the hunting community.
  4. How is an APR different from Quality Deer Management (QDM)?
    • An APR is a tool used to advance a particular age class of bucks to the following age class (e.g. protection of 1.5 year old bucks in order to advance them to the 2.5 year old age class). QDM has several definitions and is largely open to interpretation by each individual hunter but it typically incorporates habitat management, adequate antlerless harvest to achieve a balanced ratio of bucks to does and protection of young bucks from harvest.
  5. Where in Michigan do we have APRs?
    • See the APR chart for a complete list and map of the APRs in Michigan .
  6. What is the difference between an APR and Hunter's Choice?
    • An APR is intended to be the same across all antlered deer licenses (i.e. you have the same restrictions no matter which license type you purchase). Hunter's Choice was a restriction designed to allow hunters to have different restrictions based upon which license type is purchased. In Michigan, specifically the Upper Peninsula and DMU 487 located in the Northeast Northern Lower, Hunter's Choice involves a 3 point APR on the regular kill tag of the combination license (there is also a statewide 4 point APR on the restricted kill tag) or no APR (3 inch statewide minimum length applies) on the single deer license.
  7. Are there any areas in Michigan currently under evaluation for an APR?
    • No, the next area to be surveyed will be 12 counties in the northwest Northern Lower. This will be a re-survey of the area to determine if the current APR will be recommended to remain in place permanently or if the APR should be removed.
  8. How does an APR qualify as sound scientific management under Proposal G?
    • While there is no overwhelming evidence indicating a herd managed with APRs is any better off, there is also no overwhelming evidence indicating any serious harm may result from existing APRs. If the Department has a cause for concern over any existing or proposed APR, the NRC would be advised not to maintain the restriction or entertain a proposal. Given the lack of evidence in either direction for or against APRs, implementation of an APR for the general purpose of improving hunter satisfaction becomes a social issue as a matter of preference.
  9. What are the costs and benefits of an APR?
    • Costs:
      • Fewer legal targets on the landscape
      • May see decreased hunting success, especially in the first 1-2 years
      • Potential difficulty in counting antler points
    • Benefits:        
      • Larger bucks on the landscape
  10. What is the process to get an area under a mandatory APR?
  11. How are people chosen to partake in the survey?
    • Individuals are chosen from the pool of hunters that received AND returned the previous year's Deer Hunter Harvest Survey. That pool is narrowed down by selecting people who indicated that they hunt in one of the counties included in the survey proposal. From there, a random list of individuals is generated. There is also a small group selected from the online version of the Deer Hunter Harvest Survey and they are weighted accordingly and randomly selected in the same way as those that participated in the mail survey are.
  12. How many people are chosen to participate in the survey and where does that number come from?
    • The minimum number is generated using a sample size calculator which factors in:
      • the estimated population of an area (in the case of the APR survey the estimated number of hunters that hunt in the proposed area)
      • the margin of error which determines how close to the population proportion you would like the estimate to be (for example, +/- 2-3%) reported
      •  a confidence level of 95%, which establishes an interval that would be expected to contain the true value at least 95% of the time
      • an estimate of the portion of the population that will be sampled (this is estimated using past samples)
    • For example, for the Northwest APR Proposal Survey we had the following data available:
      • Estimated number of hunters that hunt the area: ~250,000
      • 2-3% margin of acceptable error desired
      • 95% confidence level
      • an estimate gained from previous survey samples of about 2% of the population proportion would be sampled
      • Using this data the minimum number that would need to be surveyed was 189 people (which would give us a margin of error of 2%)
      • However, we increased this number to 2100 people in order to further decrease the margin of error
      • By surveying 2100 people the margin of error decreased  to >0.07%
  13. Why is the DNR not letting me hunt what I want on my land?
    • Michigan's deer herd belongs to the citizens of Michigan and they have entrusted the DNR to manage the herd for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. Many existing regulations already establish hunting dates, legal methods of hunting, and restrict what deer may be taken (such as antlered versus antlerless deer). As with APRs, opinions on what constitute acceptable or preferable rules vary widely within the deer hunting community, but responsible hunters are expected to do their best to understand and abide by the regulations whether they are hunting public land, their own private land, or are a guest on private land.
  14. How long will this be in effect?
    • APRs that are implemented through the APR Proposal Process go into effect for a trial period of five years at which point the area is resurveyed. The same level of support is required for a recommendation to retain the APR.
  15. How can I oppose or support a proposed or existing APR? 
    • There are avenues for anyone to comment on a past or future regulation change. Although the survey of support has been the most significant consideration in decisions regarding APR implementation, your input may offer perspective to the decision-makers that hadn’t yet been considered. Regulations are implemented by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC); they are decision-making body on method and manner of take for the Wildlife Division. The NRC will accept comments regarding any regulation change that is made and opportunities exist to comment on all regulations changes before they are enacted.  Send your comments to NRC@michigan.gov.
  16. What happens if I shoot something that I thought had 3 points (or thought was a doe) and it only has 2 points (or it’s actually got a 5” spike!) once I approach it?
    • If this occurs the best course of action is to call the RAP line (800-292-7800) to report the mistake and they will notify your local conservation officer. It will be the officer's discretion how to handle the situation from there. Officers will typically be more understanding if someone reports a mistake rather than the officer discovering that you attempted to cover up the mistake.
  17. How many check stations will be in the APR areas?
  18. Do other permits such as Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAPs) and out-of-season kill permits have to follow APRs?
    • The only permits that are exempt from APRs are Disease Control Permits, the deer tags associated with the Mentored Youth License and a permit to hunt from a standing vehicle. Keep in mind that the vast majority of crop damage permits and all deer management assistance permits are for antlerless deer only. The goal of these permits is population control in order to mitigate crop damage and shooting antlerless deer has been shown to be the most effective way to achieve this goal. If bucks are specifically responsible for causing damage in a particular instance (such as by rubbing antlers on trees in nurseries or orchards), exceptions can be provided to allow antlered deer to be taken using crop damage permits, and an APR would likely not apply.
  19. Why don’t we ask every hunter?
    • It is not possible to conduct a survey of all hunters in an area of any significant size using available tools and financial resources. The logistics of running a voluntary voting process would also be difficult to address, and such a system would be very vulnerable to bias in favor of any well-organized group with a particularly favorable or negative view on APRs. The survey process of contacting a representative portion of a population is outlined in the current APR Proposal Process that we follow. Furthermore, well-established principles of surveys and sampling statistics indicate that conducting a survey is a statistically accurate method to gauge how the entire community may feel about a particular issue. In other words, we would expect very similar results if we surveyed a reasonably-sized representative sample of the hunting community versus a much larger sample of most or all hunters in the area.
  20. What is a super majority?
    • A super majority is a 2/3 majority or 66%. A majority would be considered 51% but a super majority must achieve a much higher percentage. The reason behind this is because we want to be sure that this is what most hunters want.
  21. Can I still take an antlerless deer with my combo or archery license?
    • In the Lower Peninsula (zones 2 and 3) you may still harvest antlerless deer using your combination or single deer license. In the Upper Peninsula (zone 1) you may only harvest an antlerless deer if you possess an antlerless license (unless you are participating in the Liberty or Independence Hunts or if you possess a permit to hunt deer from a standing vehicle).