MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — If you’re hunting deer in Michigan this year, you now have to report your harvest online. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) put the system into place after volunteer testing it with nearly 7,000 deer hunters last year.

According to the DNR’s deer, elk and moose management specialist, Chad Stewart, there are many reasons for moving to online reporting. Included in that is the precise reporting of data.

“The decline in response rate to our post-season mail surveys increases the amount of uncertainty in our harvest estimates, which can lead to incorrect regulation recommendations in some locations,” Stewart said.

eLicense harvest reporting screenshot

How does it work?

You have 72 hours after taking a deer to report it. It takes an estimated three to five minutes to complete the online report which you can do online at or with the DNR mobile app, available in the Google Play store and the Apple App Store.

If you don’t have internet access or a smart device available, family members or friends with access can file for hunters as long as they are provided with the kill tag license number, date of birth and the harvest location.

Calling in information is not a provided option because harvest data location is provided through a digital map.

“While we will have near real-time harvest data available for hunters throughout the season on our website, that data is at the county level,” Stewart said. “Only the DNR will have access to the GPS coordinates of the actual harvest location, which is needed for two very important reasons: more effective disease surveillance, and the ability to build a network of harvest locations over time so we can adapt management guidelines to better align with harvest numbers. That means better overall management recommendations for Michigan’s deer population.”

Is there a penalty for not reporting your deer harvest? Follow the link for more frequently asked questions.

“While the regulation is written in our Wildlife Conservation Order, which is where all of our deer regulations reside and allows conservation officers to enforce violations, this first year will emphasize educating hunters about the change rather than enforcement for those who have not reported their deer within the stated guidelines,” said Chad Stewart, deer, elk and moose management specialist for the Michigan DNR.

The DNR created a video showing the proper way to report your deer online.