LANSING, MI - Each year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources generates preliminary estimates of the firearm deer harvest shortly after the season closes. \r\nThe 2015 firearm deer season wrapped up November 30th, 2015, with indications of mixed results throughout the state.\r\nThe harvest appears to have decreased in the Upper Peninsula and increased in the Lower Peninsula.\r\n\u201cWe anticipated a poor harvest in the U.P. due to the drastically low deer population throughout much of the U.P. over the past couple of years,\u201d said Ashley Autenrieth, DNR deer program biologist. \u201cHowever, we\u2019ve seen uncharacteristically high temperatures and low snowfall levels so far this fall, and if this continues, we hope the herd will begin rebounding.\u201d\r\nAlthough reports differ widely across and within regions, DNR biologists estimate the harvest, compared to 2014, was up perhaps as much as 17 percent in the Lower Peninsula, and declined approximately 19 percent in the U.P.\r\n\u201cFortunately, the Lower Peninsula hasn\u2019t had a drastic drop in deer numbers over the last few years,\u201d said Chad Stewart, DNR deer management specialist.\r\n\u201cThat, coupled with good wild apple and acorn production over the last two years, has made for good conditions for the deer herds in these areas,\u201d Stewart said.\r\nWarmer than average temperatures made for a more challenging hunt in the beginning of the season since deer don\u2019t tend to be as active in warmer temperatures. Biologists noted, however, that many hunters stayed out longer to enjoy the weather, which may have helped the harvest.\r\nBiologists saw excellent body condition and antler development on many of the bucks that were registered at check stations.\r\nAlthough the U.P. saw lower harvest numbers, the bucks that were registered tended to be either 3 1\/2 or 4 1\/2 years old. This reflects the low numbers of younger age classes from winter effects and the continuing impact of predators.\r\nRegardless of preliminary impressions, Stewart stressed the importance of Michigan\u2019s hunter harvest survey, which he called \u201ca vital tool for Michigan\u2019s deer program, and an important way in which data provided by hunters contributes to our information base.\u201d\r\nA rigorous assessment of harvest and participation over all deer seasons will occur using the annual hunter mail survey. The survey is mailed in early January to randomly selected hunters.\r\nHunters who do not receive a survey in the mail but wish to provide their hunting and harvest information may visit www.michigan.gov\/deer\u00a0and select the \u201cComplete A Harvest Survey Online\u201d link. Hunters should provide information only once they have completed all of their 2015 hunting activities, including seasons that are open as late as Jan. 1, 2016.\r\nFor more information about hunting opportunities or deer management in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov\/hunting\u00a0or www.michigan.gov\/deer.