Deer season in Michigan is a holiday of its own to many people but this year the DNR may have to play Grinch to help the deer population in the long run.
A deadly disease– known as EHD has killed thousands of deer already this year and it's forcing the state to pull back on this year's hunting permits.
About 13,000 dead deer across 30 Michigan counties.
Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources: “In terms of the number of counties affected, we've never had anything like this.”
That's why the Natural Resources Commission has decided to cap the number of deer hunting permits per person.
This year hunters can only get 5 permits for private land instead, of 10 and 2 permits on public land, instead of 5.
Rudolph: “If you hunt right in those areas, you may see dramatically fewer deer than you've seen in the past.”
But the new rules have some hunters concerned.
Tom Cullimore: I wont know til the dust clears that this is a good measure — but I think it probably is but they've got to do something.”
Cullimore runs a program called HOPE, which donates venison to food banks.
Cullimore: “Last year was the best year ever, I got 214 deer.”
But he's worried this year may not be so good.
Cullimore: “Were not seeing the deer at all on this farm the way we used to– not at all.”
With fewer deer out there and fewer permits available, that could mean less food for needy families.
Cullimore: “I'm hoping not but I'm afraid its gonna be so. When those don't come into me then I cant take care of the food banks the way I like to.”
The good news is, the Natural Resources Commission says it's unlikely any more deer will get the disease.
Rudolph: “If we have a good frost which we've had in many places – it'll kill the adult midges that transmit that virus.”
But the number of dead deer is expected to climb as hunters find more that haven't been counted.