By Jessica Mathews /

A contest is underway to design a special centennial edition collector deer patch for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The deer management cooperator patches serve as an incentive for successful hunters and are handed out to those who bring their deer to MDNR deer check stations. Outreach Assistant Emilie O’Grady with the MDNR’s Wildlife Division says the biological data collected really does help them with management and making sure things are normal. As a thank you, she says they give out an annual cooperator patch. This year’s patch will commemorate the DNR’s centennial, which the department is celebrating throughout 2021. A contest is underway and anyone is eligible to submit designs for the patches.

The patch is said to be a very popular collector’s item for hunters since the early 1970s O’Grady tells WHMI the patches are very sought after, especially some of the older designs, and people want to collect them all. She says they get a lot of calls from people who might have missed an opportunity or sometimes they’re sold but this year’s patch is extra special because the MDNR turned 100 years old on March 30th so they’re using the centennial template.

O’Grady said she’s excited to see how many designs they get because every year they get more and more but hopefully with this being a big birthday celebration of the DNR, they’ll get a record number of submissions.

Entries must be designed using the centennial template, which is available online, and must portray white-tailed deer or white-tailed deer hunting in a Michigan habitat. The work must be original and submitted by the artist but there is no age limit and anyone can enter the contest. O’Grady said kids as young as 4 and others as old as 90 have submitted designs in the past. Anyone under the age of 13 will need a parental permission signature on the back of their artwork.

Design submissions for the 2021 patch are due April 23rd and can be submitted via the mail or email. This year’s contest winner will be contacted in early June, with patches going out in September/November for deer season.

Complete contest information and submission guidelines are available through the provided link.