MONROE (AP) – Michigan wildlife policymakers are expected to consider restricting antlerless deer hunting during bow season in the Upper Peninsula as the whitetail deer population has plummeted.

The Natural Resources Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday at a meeting in Monroe on either taking no action or eliminating antlerless deer hunting for archers. The second option wouldn’t affect firearm season, which covers most hunters.

Canceling the entire hunt has been discussed but wasn’t a likely option.

The whitetail population has dropped as much as 40 percent after two bitterly cold, snowy winters.

Officials say the antlerless hunting ban would limit opportunities for archers, but probably protect the highest number of antlerless deer. It follows similar efforts in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

About 100,000 people participate in the U.P. deer hunt.

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