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Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Deer Licenses Overview

Choosing Your Options

Residents and nonresidents alike must make a decision at the time of purchase regarding the number of antlered deer they aim to harvest. The options include a single deer license, granting permission for one antlered deer, or a deer combo license, allowing the harvest of two antlered deer (excluding DMU 117, where the limit is one).

Single Deer License

Tag Usage

If you opt for a single deer license, it provides one kill tag for use on both public and private lands. This tag can be utilized to harvest an antlered deer, an antlerless deer in the Lower Peninsula, or an antlerless deer during the archery deer season in specific Upper Peninsula deer management units. It also extends to the early/late antlerless firearm season.

Deer Combo License

Tag Allocation

For those choosing the deer combo license, it comes with two kill tags (regular and restricted) for use on public and private lands. These kill tags can be used to harvest an antlered deer, an antlerless deer in the Lower Peninsula, or an antlerless deer during the archery deer season in specific Upper Peninsula deer management units. Hunters can use both kill tags in the firearm seasons, both in archery, or one in each season.

Universal Antlerless Deer License

Entitlement

A universal antlerless deer license entitles residents and nonresidents to take an antlerless deer on public or private land in any deer management unit open to antlerless deer hunting in all deer seasons. No application is needed, and hunters of any age, including youth hunters under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, may purchase universal antlerless deer licenses.

Restrictions in the Upper Peninsula

In the Upper Peninsula, antlerless deer harvest is restricted in new DMUs 351 and 352. To hunt in these DMUs, hunters need an antlerless deer hunting access permit for the DMU and a universal antlerless deer license. One antlerless deer hunting access permit for the DMU and one universal antlerless deer license are required for each deer harvested.

Purchase Limits

Universal Antlerless Deer Licenses

Hunters may purchase up to a season limit of 10 universal antlerless deer licenses statewide.

Access Permits for Specific DMUs

Application Process

To hunt antlerless deer in DMU 351 and DMU 352, hunters may apply for one antlerless deer hunting access permit through the drawing (July 15 – Aug. 15) or purchase a leftover permit after the drawing, if available. Details can be found on pages 60-61.

Leftover Access Permits

Remaining antlerless deer hunting access permits for the Upper Peninsula are sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Availability is not guaranteed, and permits will be sold until quotas are met for each DMU. Current leftover license and permit availability can be viewed at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Deer Management Assistance (DMA) Permit

Usage and Limitations

DMA permits may be used to take antlerless deer only on the property for which they have been issued and adjacent private property with the landowner's permission. Deer taken with DMA permits do not count against a hunter’s license purchase limit. DMA permits are not stand-alone licenses; hunters must purchase an appropriate deer license for the season in which they are hunting.

Reserved Deer Hunt Access Permits

Application and Selection

A limited number of reserved deer hunting access permits are available by lottery for specific state and federal public lands. Hunters may apply for a reserved deer hunting access permit at Michigan.gov/Deer from July 15 – Aug. 15 and will be selected by random drawing. The application costs $5. Note that this application is for an access permit only; hunters also need a valid deer license for the season in which they are hunting.

Area-Specific Details

Details on reserved deer hunts for specific areas, such as Sharonville State Game Area, Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, and Shiawassee River State Game Area, can be found at Michigan.gov/Deer under "Reserved Deer Hunts." Contact the local area office for area-specific details.

Carrying Firearms During Archery Deer Season

Prohibitions

During the archery deer seasons, carrying a pistol, revolver, or other firearm while bow hunting for deer is generally unlawful. However, there are exceptions:

  1. Firearm License Holders

    • Individuals licensed to hunt deer with a firearm in areas open to firearm deer hunting during specific seasons: early and late antlerless season, Liberty Hunt, Independence Hunt, and Nov. 15-30 firearm deer hunt.
    • Individuals licensed to hunt deer with a firearm in areas open to muzzleloading deer season in Zone 2 or Zone 3.
  2. Concealed Pistol License

    • Pistols carried under the authority of a concealed pistol license or a specific exception, though use for game hunting is restricted.

Quiet Period and Restrictions

The "quiet period" from Nov. 10-14 prohibits carrying or transporting rifles or shotguns with specific loads (buckshot, slug, ball loads, or cut shells). Exceptions include transporting firearms to deer camps or target ranges if properly secured. Fur harvesters with a license may carry a rimfire firearm (.22 caliber or smaller) during the open season for fur-bearing animals.

Use of Archery Equipment During Firearm Deer Seasons

Yes, during firearm deer season, archery equipment can be used, and all firearm season regulations, including hunter orange clothing requirements, must be followed.

Limited Firearm Deer Zone Equipment Regulations

In the limited firearm deer zone from Nov. 15-30, and during other deer seasons, hunters must adhere to specific firearm restrictions or opt for a crossbow or bow and arrow. Legal firearms include:

  • A shotgun of any gauge with a smooth or rifled barrel.
  • A muzzleloading rifle or black powder handgun loaded with black powder or an equivalent substitute.
  • A conventional handgun (.35-caliber or larger) loaded with straight-walled cartridges, with a maximum capacity of nine rounds in the barrel and magazine combined.
  • A .35-caliber or larger rifle loaded with straight-walled cartridges (case length between 1.16 and 1.80 inches).
  • A .35-caliber or larger air rifle or pistol charged only from an external, high-compression power source.

Firearm Deer Season North of the Limited Zone

Deer may be taken with handguns, rifles, crossbows, bows and arrows, shotguns, and muzzleloading firearms, except for .22-caliber or smaller rimfire (rifle or handgun). During firearm deer seasons, a hunter may carry afield a bow and arrow, crossbow, and firearm.

Muzzleloading Deer Season Equipment Regulations

During the muzzleloading deer season in Zones 1 and 2, hunters may use a crossbow, muzzleloading rifle, muzzleloading shotgun, or black-powder pistol loaded with black powder or a substitute. In Zone 3 and specific counties, all legal firearms are permitted.

Note: In the Upper Peninsula, only certified hunters with a disability may use a crossbow or a modified bow during the muzzleloading season, except in the U.P. core CWD surveillance area, where crossbows may be used.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan

Geographic Presence

Since the initial discovery on May 20, 2015, free-ranging deer in the following Michigan counties have been positively confirmed with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, and Montcalm. Updated information and testing updates can be found at Michigan.gov/CWD. Refer to pages 56-57 and 61-62 for important regulations related to CWD.

Testing Availability

  1. Active Surveillance Areas:

    • CWD testing is available on a limited basis for areas with active surveillance goals.
    • Carcasses from deer with CWD-like symptoms will be accepted statewide, year-round.
    • Test results may take at least one month to receive and will be posted at Michigan.gov/DNRLab.
  2. Other Areas:

    • Hunters in other areas can submit deer to partnering USDA approved laboratories for a fee.
    • Detailed instructions are available at Michigan.gov/CWD, under "For Hunters."

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Testing

  1. DNR Collaboration:

    • The DNR collaborates with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for TB surveillance.
  2. Surveillance Focus:

    • Statewide acceptance of deer heads for TB testing.
    • Active surveillance in Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, and Roscommon counties.
  3. Observation and Testing:

    • If TB-like lesions are observed in the chest cavity of any deer, the entire carcass should be submitted for testing.
    • Find check station and drop box locations and hours at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.
    • Check deer or elk TB lab results at Michigan.gov/DNRLab.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)

Definition: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is an acute, infectious, often fatal disease primarily affecting wild ruminants, with white-tailed deer being the most commonly affected species.

For additional information on EHD, visit Michigan.gov/EHD.

Lower Peninsula Deer Hunting Regulations

Early and Late Antlerless Firearm Season

Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Early Antlerless Firearm Season: Sept 17-18

  • Open on private lands only.
  • Hunters may use a universal antlerless deer license or a deer management assistance permit for that parcel.
  • Deer license or deer combo license is valid for taking antlerless deer.
  • Deer kill tag issued under the mentored youth license must be used during the antlerless-only seasons.
  • All hunters must wear hunter orange and obtain permission from the landowner or leaseholder for private land hunting.

Late Antlerless Firearm Season: Dec. 12, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023

  • Open on private lands only.
  • All of the Upper Peninsula is CLOSED to the late antlerless firearm season.

Extended Archery Deer Season for Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties

  • Archery season extends until Jan. 31 in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.
  • Valid licenses include deer license, deer combo license, or antlerless deer license.
  • All archery season rules and regulations apply.

Special Deer Hunts Locations

  1. Fort Custer Training Center

  2. Harsens Island

    • Contact St. Clair Flats DNR Wildlife Field Office at 1803 Krispin Road, Harsens Island, MI 48028; 810-748-9504.
  3. Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area

    • Contact DNR Field Office at 1570 Tower Beach Road, Pinconning, MI 48650; 989-697-5101.
  4. Fish Point Wildlife Area (DMU 145)

    • Contact DNR Field Office at 7750 Ringle Road, Unionville, MI 48767; 989-674-2511.
  5. North Manitou Island Hunts

    • Deer hunt dates: Oct. 29 – Nov. 5.
    • Park hunting permit required. Application and information at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9922 Front Street, Empire, MI 49630; 231-326-4741 or NPS.gov/SLBE.
  6. South Fox Island Deer Hunting (DMU 245)

    • No special permit needed.
    • Archery season: Oct. 1-28, firearm season: Oct. 29 - Nov. 26.
    • Antlered deer must have at least one antler 3 inches or longer.
    • Contact DNR Customer Service Center at 8015 Mackinaw Trail, Cadillac, MI 49601; 231-775-9727.

Lower Peninsula Antler Point Restrictions (APR)

Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations
  • Antlered: At least one antler that extends 3 inches or more above the skull.
  • Antlerless: Deer without antlers or antlers extending less than 3 inches above the skull.

APR Tool:

A tool to protect an age class of bucks by allowing hunters to harvest only bucks with a certain number of antler points. APRs vary throughout the state based on deer license type and hunting location. Refer to the map and chart on pages 54-55 for specific APRs.

Tagging Antlerless Deer

  • Antlerless deer may be taken on the deer license or deer combo license during archery, firearm, and muzzleloader seasons.
  • Applicable on both public and private lands.
  • Also allowed during early and late antlerless seasons in the Lower Peninsula.

Baiting and Feeding

  • Banned in the Entire Lower Peninsula:
    • Includes public and private lands.
    • Exception: Hunters with disabilities meeting specific requirements can use bait during Liberty and Independence Hunts only.

Definitions

  • Bait: Substance for deer consumption aiding in hunting.
  • Feed: Substance attracting deer for reasons other than hunting.
  • Food-scented Oils, Wicks, or Urine-based Scents:
    • Allowed if made inaccessible for consumption by deer.

Food Plot Planting

  • Allowed on private land.
  • Prohibited on public lands.
  • Food plots are not considered bait or feed.

Moving Deer After Harvest

  • Restrictions vary based on the harvest location.
  • Refer to transportation rules and additional restrictions on pages 32-33 for details.

Deer Check Stations

  • Reduced due to budget constraints and staff reductions.
  • Drop-box locations available.
  • Check Michigan.gov/DeerCheck for station locations and hours.

CWD and Bovine Tuberculosis Testing

  • CWD testing available in areas with active surveillance goals. Check Michigan.gov/CWD for details.
  • Outside these areas, hunters can submit heads to USDA approved labs for a fee.
  • Bovine tuberculosis testing encouraged with specific head submission quotas for various counties. Visit Michigan.gov/DeerCheck for locations and hours.

Youth Hunters and Apprentice License Holders

  • Exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons and units.
  • Legal buck is one with one antler 3 inches or longer.

Note: If the youth turns 17 during the season (or prior to it), APRs must be followed.

Upper Peninsula Deer Hunting Regulations

Antlered and Antlerless Definitions

Antlered: A deer with at least one antler extending 3 inches or more above the skull.

Antlerless: A deer without antlers or antlers extending less than 3 inches above the skull.

Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Michigan Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Antler Point Restriction (APR)

What is APR?

Antler Point Restriction is a tool to protect bucks, allowing them to mature by only permitting the harvest of bucks with a certain number of antler points.

Variation in APR

APRs vary across the state based on deer license type and hunting location. Refer to the map and chart for specific APRs in your desired hunting area.

Youth Hunters and Apprentice License Holders

Youth hunters (16 and younger) and apprentice license holders are exempt from antler point restrictions in all seasons and deer management units. Legal bucks must have one antler 3 inches or longer.

Antlerless Deer Hunting in the Upper Peninsula

Where to Hunt with Antlerless Deer License

Hunters in the Upper Peninsula with a universal antlerless deer license can pursue antlerless deer in specific deer management units (DMUs). Refer to the map for designated DMUs.

Applying for Antlerless Deer Hunting Access Permit

DMU 351 and DMU 352

To hunt in these DMUs, a hunter needs an antlerless deer hunting access permit for the specific DMU and a universal antlerless deer license. The access permit is available through a drawing with quotas.

Core Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Area

Boundaries

The core CWD surveillance area includes parts of Delta, Dickinson, and Menominee counties. Refer to Michigan.gov/CWD for detailed boundaries.

Using Crossbows in the Core CWD Surveillance Area

Crossbows are allowed during the late archery season in the core CWD surveillance area.

Baiting Restrictions in the Core CWD Surveillance Area

Baiting and feeding are prohibited in the core CWD surveillance area, with exceptions during specific hunts for hunters with disabilities.

Definitions: "Bait" and "Feed"

Bait: Intended for consumption by deer, including grains, minerals, fruits, and vegetables.

Feed: Composed of materials that attract deer for reasons other than hunting.

Food Plots and Baiting Outside the Core CWD Surveillance Area

Food Plots

On private land, planting food plots to attract deer is allowed. However, baiting regulations apply outside the core CWD surveillance area.

Crossbow Use Outside the Core CWD Surveillance Area

Baiting Regulations

Baiting is allowed from Sept. 15 - Jan. 1, with specific volume and dispersal regulations.

Feeding Deer Outside the Core CWD Surveillance Area

Feeding is permitted following rules for recreational or supplemental feeding. Visit Michigan.gov/Deer for feeding regulations.

Crossbow Use After Nov. 30 in the Upper Peninsula

Crossbows are not allowed after Nov. 30 during the late archery season and December muzzleloader season, unless the hunter is disabled with a proper permit.

Deer Check Stations and CWD Testing

Check Stations

Due to budget constraints, check stations are limited. Check Michigan.gov/DeerCheck for available locations and hours.

CWD Testing

Limited CWD testing is available in areas with active surveillance goals. Check Michigan.gov/Deer for testing information.

Deer Diseases in Michigan

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan

CWD Occurrence

Since the initial discovery on May 20, 2015, free-ranging deer in Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, and Montcalm counties have tested positive for CWD. Stay informed on CWD developments and testing updates at Michigan.gov/CWD. Refer to pages 56-57 and 61-62 for crucial regulations related to CWD.

Testing for CWD

CWD testing is available on a limited basis in areas with active surveillance goals. In other regions, hunters seeking CWD testing can contact a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved laboratory. Detailed instructions are available at Michigan.gov/CWD under "For Hunters." Please note that this year, test results may have extended processing times. Once available, results will be posted at Michigan.gov/DNRLab.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Surveillance

DNR's Involvement

The DNR collaborates with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for bovine TB surveillance in free-ranging white-tailed deer.

Hunters' Role

Hunters play a crucial role by submitting deer heads for surveillance. The following annual head submission quotas apply:

  • At least 300 heads needed from each of Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Ogemaw, Otsego, and Roscommon counties.
  • At least 500 heads needed annually from Presque Isle County.
  • At least 2,800 heads needed annually from Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties combined.

Visit Michigan.gov/DeerCheck for check station and drop box locations and hours. Check your deer or elk TB lab results at Michigan.gov/DNRLab. Explore more about bovine TB in Michigan at Michigan.gov/BovineTB.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD)

Overview of EHD

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is an acute, infectious, and often fatal disease primarily affecting white-tailed deer. For detailed information, visit Michigan.gov/EmergingDiseases.

Hunting and Trapping Zones in Michigan

Overview of Zones

Michigan is geographically divided into Hunting and Trapping Zones 1, 2, and 3. The delineation of these zones is essential for hunting and trapping activities. Zone 1 encompasses the entire Upper Peninsula.

Zone Boundaries

Zones 2 and 3 Division Line

The boundary line between Zones 2 and 3 follows a specific route, starting from the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Muskegon Lake. It proceeds easterly on Memorial Drive to Ruddiman Drive to Lake Avenue, then further easterly on Lake Avenue to M-120 in North Muskegon. The line continues through various points, including M-20, US-10, Garfield Road, Pinconning Road, Seven Mile Road, Lincoln School Road, M-61, US-23, the centerline of AuGres River, and Saginaw Bay. Finally, it extends eastward into Saginaw Bay, followed by a northerly course to the International Boundary.

Exception for Waterfowl Hunting Zone Lines

Waterfowl hunting zone lines may differ from the general hunting and trapping zone boundaries. Refer to the current-year Waterfowl Digest for specific waterfowl zone descriptions.

Limited Firearm Deer Zone

Michigan is further divided into a northern zone and a southern limited firearm deer zone. In the southern zone, specific firearms and handguns are permitted for deer hunting, in addition to shotguns (refer to Equipment Regulations).

Northern and Southern Zone Division Line

The division line between the northern and southern limited firearm deer zones starts at a point on the Lake Michigan shoreline directly west of M-46. It then proceeds easterly to M-46, along M-46 to U.S. 131 at Cedar Springs, southerly on U.S. 131 to M-57, easterly on M-57 to Montcalm Road on the Kent-Montcalm county line, southerly on Montcalm Road and the Kent-Ionia county line to M-44, and continues through M-44 to M-66. The line follows M-66 to M-57, then easterly to M-52 near Chesaning, and further northerly on M-52 to M-46. The route continues through M-46 to M-47, northerly on M-47 to U.S. 10 west of Bay City, easterly on U.S. 10 to I-75, northerly on I-75 and U.S. 23 to Beaver Road (approximately 1 mile north of Kawkawlin). From there, it extends easterly to Saginaw Bay, following a north 50 degrees east direction to the International Boundary.

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Legal Hunting Hours in Michigan

Time Zone A - Bear, Deer, Fall Wild Turkey, Furbearers, and Small Game

Overview

Legal hunting hours are crucial for hunters to adhere to ethical and regulatory standards. The following table provides specific opening (a.m.) and closing (p.m.) times for Time Zone A. It's important to note that these times are adjusted for daylight saving time.

Table: Zone A Hunting Hours

Date Time Zone A a.m. Time Zone A p.m.
September 1 6:27 8:38
September 2 6:28 8:36
September 3 6:29 8:34
September 4 6:31 8:32
September 5 6:32 8:31
September 6 6:33 8:29
September 7 6:34 8:27
September 8 6:35 8:26
September 9 6:36 8:24
September 10 6:37 8:22
September 11 6:38 8:20
September 12 6:39 8:19
September 13 6:40 8:17
September 14 6:41 8:15
September 15 6:42 8:13
September 16 6:43 8:12
September 17 6:44 8:10
September 18 6:45 8:08
September 19 6:46 8:06
September 20 6:47 8:04
September 21 6:48 8:03
September 22 6:50 8:01
September 23 6:51 7:59
September 24 6:52 7:57
September 25 6:53 7:56
September 26 6:54 7:54
September 27 6:55 7:52
September 28 6:56 7:50
September 29 6:57 7:49
September 30 6:58 7:47
October 1 6:59 7:45
October 2 7:00 7:43
October 3 7:01 7:42
October 4 7:03 7:40
October 5 7:04 7:38
October 6 7:05 7:36
October 7 7:06 7:35
October 8 7:07 7:33
October 9 7:08 7:31
October 10 7:09 7:30
October 11 7:10 7:32
October 12 7:12 7:26
October 13 7:13 7:25
October 14 7:14 7:23
October 15 7:15 7:21
October 16 7:16 7:20
October 17 7:17 7:18
October 18 7:19 7:17
October 19 7:20 7:15
October 20 7:21 7:14
October 21 7:22 7:12
October 22 7:23 7:11
October 23 7:25 7:09
October 24 7:26 7:08
October 25 7:27 7:06
October 26 7:28 7:05
October 27 7:29 7:03
October 28 7:30 7:02
October 29 7:32 7:00
October 30 7:33 6:59
October 31 7:34 6:58
November 1 7:36 6:56
November 2 7:37 6:55
November 3 7:38 6:54
November 4 7:39 6:53
November 5 7:40 6:51
November 6 7:42 6:50
November 7 6:43 5:49
November 8 6:44 5:48
November 9 6:46 5:47
November 10 6:47 5:46
November 11 6:48 5:45
November 12 6:50 5:44
November 13 6:51 5:43
November 14 6:52 5:42
November 15 6:53 5:41
November 16 6:54 5:40
November 17 6:55 5:39
November 18 6:57 5:38
November 19 6:58 5:38
November 20 6:59 5:37
November 21 7:00 5:36
November 22 7:02 5:35
November 23 7:03 5:35
November 24 7:04 5:34
November 25 7:05 5:34
November 26 7:06 5:33
November 27 7:07 5:32
November 28 7:08 5:32
November 29 7:10 5:32
November 30 7:11 5:31
December 1 7:12 5:31
December 2 7:13 5:31
December 3 7:14 5:30
December 4 7:15 5:30
December 5 7:16 5:30
December 6 7:17 5:30
December 7 7:18 5:30
December 8 7:19 5:30
December 9 7:20 5:30
December 10 7:20 5:30
December 11 7:21 5:30
December 12 7:22 5:30
December 13 7:23 5:30
December 14 7:24 5:30
December 15 7:24 5:30
December 16 7:25 5:31
December 17 7:26 5:31
December 18 7:26 5:31
December 19 7:27 5:32
December 20 7:28 5:32
December 21 7:28 5:32
December 22 7:29 5:33
December 23 7:29 5:33
December 24 7:30 5:34
December 25 7:30 5:35
December 26 7:30 5:35
December 27 7:31 5:36
December 28 7:31 5:37
December 29 7:31 5:37
December 30 7:31 5:38
December 31 7:32 5:39

Adjustments for Other Time Zones

For hunters in Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, or Menominee counties (Central Standard Time), an additional adjustment is required. Subtract one hour from the printed time for accurate hunting hours.

Important Notes

  • Woodcock and early teal hunting season hours are from sunrise to sunset.
  • Waterfowl hunting hours vary and are detailed in the current-year Waterfowl Digest.
  • For nighttime hunting of furbearers, refer to the current-year Fur Harvester Digest.

Determining Hunting Hours in Different Time Zones

To determine the opening and closing times for any day in a time zone other than Zone A, add the minutes shown in the provided map of hunting-hour time zones to the times listed in the Time Zone A Hunting Hours Table.

Firearm Safety Zones

Hunting near occupied buildings requires permission

No hunting with a firearm is allowed within 450 feet of an occupied building, dwelling, house, residence, cabin, barn, or other farm-related structure without obtaining written permission from the property owner, renter, or occupant. This safety zone strictly pertains to hunting activities and excludes indoor or outdoor shooting ranges, target shooting, law enforcement actions, or the lawful discharge of firearms for nonhunting purposes.

Road and Railroad Right-of-Way Regulations

Permission required for hunting and trapping near roads and railroads

Hunting and trapping are permitted within a road right-of-way if the adjacent property is publicly owned. However, if the adjoining land is private, hunters and trappers must obtain permission from the landowner. Railroad rights-of-way are considered private property, and trespassing is a misdemeanor. To avoid legal consequences, written permission from the railroad company is mandatory for exemption from trespassing charges.

Float Hunting Guidelines

Permissible float hunting and trapping along public waterways

Float hunting and trapping are allowed on waterways surrounded by public land and open to hunting. However, exclusive rights for hunting and trapping belong to the landowners bordering the waterway and their invited guests. Prior permission from the landowner is essential before engaging in float hunting or setting traps along waterways protected by recreational trespass laws.

Hunting Restrictions in Specific Townships

Townships in certain counties with hunting restrictions

Several townships or specific areas within them have hunting restrictions or limitations on the types of firearms allowed or the discharge of firearms, as indicated by posted signs. Counties with such regulations include Alcona, Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Crawford, Dickinson, Eaton, Emmet, Genesee, Iosco, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Mackinac, Manistee, Oakland, Otsego, Ottawa, Presque Isle, Saginaw, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne. The specific restrictions for each area can be obtained by contacting the respective township clerk or township police department. Further county-specific rules can be found at Michigan.gov/DNRLaws.

Accompanying a Federally Recognized Tribe Hunter

Restrictions on harvesting game animals while accompanying a treaty-authorized hunter

Individuals accompanying a hunter lawfully engaged in treaty-authorized hunting are prohibited from harvesting game animals unless they are also lawfully licensed as a treaty-authorized hunter or as a state-licensed hunter for the applicable species and season. Compliance with licensing regulations is crucial to avoid legal consequences.

State Land-Use Regulations

Access Rules for State Lands

Explore state land-use regulations at Michigan.gov/DNRLaws to ensure adherence to specific guidelines. Prohibited actions include:

1. Vegetation Alteration

Cutting branches, limbs, trees, or other vegetation for shooting lanes on public land is strictly forbidden.

2. Blockage Prevention

Blocking gates, roads, or trails on public land is not allowed to maintain accessibility.

3. Camping Restrictions

Camping on state land without a permit is prohibited. Obtain free permits online at Michigan.gov/Camping or any DNR office. Camping fees apply to designated campsites in state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, and certain state game areas.

Hunting on State Park and Recreation Area Lands

Understanding Hunting Regulations

Familiarize yourself with hunting regulations in state parks and recreation areas. Key points include:

1. Hunting Status

State parks are typically closed to hunting unless explicitly opened by law (Michigan.gov/DNRLaws). State recreation areas are generally open to hunting unless specific laws dictate closures.

2. Access Percentage

Approximately 92 percent of state park and state recreation area lands are open to hunting. For detailed information, contact the respective park or recreation area. Visit Michigan.gov/RecSearch for contact details.

3. Unlawful Actions

It is unlawful to:

  • Use centerfire rifles or pistols for nighttime hunting in state parks or recreation areas.
  • Trap within 50 feet of mowed areas in state recreation areas.
  • Target-shoot, except on designated ranges at specific locations.
  • Harvest quail within the established season, restricted to field trial participants in designated areas. Contact recreation area headquarters for field trial dates.

Camping and Recreation Passport

Regulations and Passport Requirements

Understand camping regulations and the mandatory Recreation Passport for hunting or camping on state park or recreation area lands. Key details include:

1. Camping Guidelines

Camping at state parks or recreation areas is allowed only on designated campsites. Make reservations at MiDNRReservations.com.

2. Passport Necessity

A Recreation Passport is mandatory for hunting or camping on state park or recreation area lands. It provides access to 103 state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, and DNR-administered boat launches.

3. Passport Acquisition

Michigan residents can obtain the passport for $12 during vehicle registration renewal. Non-residents require a daily ($9) or annual ($34) fee for park and boat launch access.

Finding Public Hunting Lands

Locating Hunting Locations

Discover public hunting lands in Michigan using Michigan.gov/MiHunt. Utilize the Mi-HUNT interactive map and explore additional resources. Details include:

1. Interactive Map

Mi-HUNT offers an interactive map for planning hunting, trapping, and outdoor recreation adventures.

2. County-Specific Maps

Explore county-specific maps under "More Public Lands" that identify lands open to public hunting. These maps outline approximate boundaries, and users must be aware of all relevant regulations.

Authorization for Guiding Hunts on Public Land

Requirements for Commercial Guides

Understand the requirements for commercial hunting guides operating on state-owned lands. Key points include:

1. Written Authorization

Commercial hunting guides on state-owned lands must obtain written authorization and adhere to specified conditions.

2. Information Resource

For more details, visit Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits or contact Casey Reitz at ReitzC@Michigan.gov or 517-284-6210.

3. National Forest Guiding

Commercial guiding on national forest lands requires a federal special use permit. Applications can be obtained from national forest offices or by contacting Hiawatha NF at 906-428-5800, Huron-Manistee NF at 231-775-5023, or Ottawa NF at 906-932-1330.

Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas

Federal Lands Regulations Overview

Understanding hunting regulations on federal lands:

  • Federal waterfowl production areas are generally open to public hunting, except where explicitly prohibited.
  • National wildlife refuges are closed for hunting unless expressly permitted.

Compliance with Laws

  • All state laws are applicable to national wildlife refuge lands.
  • Additional federal regulations can be found in 50 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) at FWS.gov.
  • Refer to the specific national wildlife refuge office for refuge-specific regulations.

Refuge-Specific Information

  1. Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

    • Location: 5437 West Jefferson Ave, Trenton, MI 48183
    • Contact: 734-365-0219
    • Limited small game, waterfowl, and deer hunting allowed as per maps available at refuge parking areas or online at FWS.gov/Refuge/Detroit_River.
  2. Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge

    • Managed by Seney NWR, 906-586-9851
    • Open for deer and bear hunting. No use of dogs for black bear hunting. Details at FWS.gov/Refuge/Harbor_Island.
  3. Huron National Wildlife Refuge

    • Managed by Seney NWR, 906-586-9851
    • Closed to hunting. Details at FWS.gov/Refuge/Huron.
  4. Kirtland Warbler Wildlife Management Area

    • Managed by Seney NWR, 906-586-9851
    • Closed during the Kirtland’s warbler breeding season (May 1 – Aug. 15). Details at FWS.gov/Refuge/Kirtlands_Warbler.
  5. Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge

    • Managed by Seney and Shiawassee NWRs
    • Closed to public access. Information at FWS.gov/Refuge/Michigan_Islands.
  6. Michigan Wetland Management District

    • Location: 2651 Coolidge Road, Suite 101, East Lansing, MI 48823
    • Contact: 517-351-6236
    • Hunting information available online at FWS.gov/Refuge/Michigan_WMD.
  7. Seney National Wildlife Refuge

    • Location: 1674 Refuge Entrance Road, Seney, MI 49883
    • Contact: 906-586-9851
    • Refuge-specific hunting regulations at FWS.gov/Refuge/Seney/Visit/Hunting.html.
  8. Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

    • Location: 6975 Mower Rd, Saginaw, MI 48601
    • Contact: 989-777-5930
    • Refuge-specific regulations at FWS.gov/Refuge/Shiawassee/Visit/Visitor_Activities/Hunting.html.

Hunting on National Forest Lands

Federal Regulations and Access Information

  • Yes, hunting is allowed on national forest lands, with all state laws applicable.
  • Additional federal regulations can be found in 36 CFR 261 (Code of Federal Regulations) at FS.USDA.gov.

Motor Vehicle Use Map

  • A motor vehicle use map, detailing designated roads and trails open for motorized travel, including ORVs, is available at U.S. Forest Service offices and online.

Contact for Additional Information

  1. Hiawatha National Forest

    • Website: FS.USDA.gov/Detail/Hiawatha
    • Contact: 906-428-5800.
  2. Huron-Manistee National Forest

    • Website: FS.USDA.gov/Main/HMN
    • Contact: 231-775-5023.
  3. Ottawa National Forest

    • Website: FS.USDA.gov/Detail/Ottawa
    • Contact: 906-932-1330.

Hunting on Private Lands

Permission Requirement

  • Yes, permission is mandatory: Trespassing on private land is illegal and can negatively impact support for recreational hunting.
  • Written or verbal permission is required from the landowner or leaseholder before hunting on farmlands, connected woodlots, posted private land, or fenced/enclosed properties.
  • Hunters must produce their hunting license upon the landowner's request.

Wounded Game on Private Property

  • If a game animal is wounded and enters private property, pursuing it without the landowner's permission is illegal and could lead to prosecution.

Commercial Forest (CF) Lands

Access to Privately Owned Forests

  • Yes, hunting is allowed: Over 2.2 million acres of privately owned forests under the CF program are accessible for fishing, hunting, and trapping.
  • Hunters need valid licenses for private-land hunting to hunt all species.
  • Motorized vehicle use for fishing and hunting access is at the landowner’s discretion.
  • Activities other than fishing, hunting, and trapping require landowner permission.
  • Hunters must respect landowner rules, and restrictions during active commercial logging ensure public safety.

Additional CF Regulations

  • The presence of fences or gates does not prohibit public access to CF lands for fishing or hunting.
  • Restrictions on building structures or blinds, use of nails/bolts, and cutting shooting lanes are in place.
  • Commercial activity on CF lands is limited to forestry or oil and gas extraction.

Resources and Contacts

  • CF land descriptions are available on the DNR website at Michigan.gov/CommercialForest.
  • For questions, contact the DNR Forest Resources Division at 517-284-5900 or DNR-Forestry@Michigan.gov.

Hunting Access Program (HAP)

Overview

  • HAP provides public hunting opportunities on private land by leasing lands from private landowners.
  • Established in 1977 to increase public hunting access, it's one of the oldest dedicated private-lands, public-access programs in the nation.
  • Landowners determine the hunting options, maximum number of hunters, and allowable species.

Utilizing HAP Lands

  1. Registration and Information

    • Aerial photographs of HAP properties are available on Michigan.gov/MiHunt and Michigan.gov/HAP.
    • Listings of enrolled HAP lands can be found at Michigan.gov/HAP or obtained at DNR Customer Service Centers.
  2. Registration Process

    • Lands are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Hunters must register each day at property headquarters.
    • Registration includes name, address, species hunted, and time spent hunting.
  3. Hunt Types and Rules

    • Property owners specify hunt types, maximum hunters, and allowed species.
    • Rules, seasons, and dates vary by property.
  4. Rules and Regulations

    • Hunters must follow all DNR regulations while on HAP lands.
    • Activities other than hunting are not permissible.
    • Respect landowner privacy and adhere to specific landowner rules.

Enrolling Property in HAP

  • Landowners with a minimum of 40 acres can enroll their property in HAP.
  • For details and applications, contact the DNR HAP coordinator at DNR-HAP@Michigan.gov or 517-284-9453.
  • Landowners receive payment for allowing public hunting and are protected from liability, except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Hunter Orange Requirements

Daylight Shooting Hours Attire

  • Hunter Orange Requirement: From Aug. 15 through April 30, during established daylight shooting hours, hunters must wear a cap, hat, vest, jacket, or rain gear with at least 50 percent hunter orange.
  • Camouflage can be used, but it must include the specified percentage of hunter orange.
  • Hunter orange garments must be the outermost layer and visible from all sides of the hunter.

Exceptions

  • The hunter orange requirement does not apply to individuals engaged in specific hunting activities:
    • Archery deer season.
    • Bear hunting with a bow or crossbow.
    • Turkey, crow, or other migratory bird hunting.
    • Falconry.
    • Stationary hunting of bobcat, coyote, or fox.

Equipment Prohibitions and Methods

Prohibited Methods

  • Prohibitions: Hunters are restricted from using various methods such as fires to drive out game, snares, traps, explosives, drugs, poisons, and more.
  • Specific regulations apply; refer to the current-year Fur Harvester Digest for trapping rules.

Restrictions

  • No tracer or explosive bullets: Cartridges containing tracer or explosive bullets are prohibited.
  • Intoxication: Hunting under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is not allowed.
  • Natural cervid urine lures: Refer to Michigan.gov/Deer for regulations on the possession or use of natural cervid urine lures.

Use of Artificial Light

General Restrictions

  • Prohibition Period: Using artificial light to locate wild animals is prohibited from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., excluding specific exemptions.
  • Vehicle Headlights: Prohibited at any time to locate wild animals, except during specified exemptions.

Exceptions

  1. Concealed Pistol License: The prohibition does not apply to pistols carried under the authority of a concealed pistol license.
  2. Nighttime Furbearer Hunting: Allowed for raccoon, opossum, fox, and coyote during specific periods.
  3. Private Property Use: Artificial light may be used from Nov. 1-30 on owned or immediate family-owned property without possession of hunting devices.

Deer Hunting Specifics

  • One hour before and after shooting hours: Deer hunters may use an artificial light while carrying an unloaded firearm or bow and arrow when traveling on foot.
  • Lights for Dog Training: Those without hunting devices may use lights during dog training or field trials for raccoon, opossum, or fox.
  • Scope/Sight Illumination: Lighted pin sight or scope with illuminated crosshairs may be used during legal hunting hours.

Enforcement

  • Compliance Enforcement: Hunters using artificial light must immediately stop their vehicle when signaled by a uniformed officer or marked patrol vehicle.

Hunting from Vehicles

  • Prohibition: Hunting or pursuing wild animals from a motorized vehicle, aircraft, drone, boat, or other motorized means is strictly prohibited.
  • Exceptions: Refer to the current-year Waterfowl Digest for specific exceptions, and hunters with disabilities can find additional information at Michigan.gov/DNRAccessibility.

Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) and Snowmobile Usage Restrictions in Michigan

General Restrictions for ORVs and Snowmobiles:

In Michigan, there are restrictions on where and when off-road vehicles (ORVs) and snowmobiles can be operated. Certain roads and areas may be off-limits for these vehicles, and this can vary based on location and time of year. For the most accurate and current information on closures and restrictions, it's essential to check the official Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website at Michigan.gov/DNRLaws or to contact a nearby DNR office directly.

Specific Time Restrictions:

During Michigan's firearm deer season, which runs from November 15 through November 30, there are specific time restrictions in place to support safety and wildlife preservation efforts. During this period, the use of ORVs and snowmobiles is prohibited on public hunting lands between the hours of:

  • 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Exceptions to Time Restrictions:

The following are exceptions where the time restrictions for using ORVs and snowmobiles do not apply, even during the firearm deer season from November 15 to 30:

  • Emergency Situations: Operation is allowed if it is related to an emergency or when accessing a permanent residence or hunting camp that is not reachable by a conventional wheeled vehicle.

  • Transporting Harvested Game: If using the vehicle to remove a legally harvested deer, bear, or elk from state land. However, the operator must not exceed 5 miles per hour and must take the most direct route that adheres to all ORV laws.

  • Private Landowners and Guests: The restrictions do not apply to private landowners or their guests.

  • Licensed Motor Vehicles: Vehicles that are licensed under the Michigan Vehicle Code and are traveling on roads able to support regular automobile traffic are exempt.

  • Persons with Disabilities: Those with a disability are exempt when using designated trails or forest roads for the purpose of hunting or fishing.

  • Permitted Stationary Vehicle Hunting: Individuals with a valid permit for hunting from a standing vehicle are not subject to these time constraints.

To ensure responsible and lawful enjoyment of ORVs and snowmobiles while respecting the regulations established to protect wildlife and other hunters, always abide by the rules set forth by the Michigan DNR and be aware of the specific conditions applicable to your situation.

Firearms, Crossbows, and Archery Equipment Regulations

Rifles in Limited Firearm Deer Zone

  • Permitted Period: Centerfire or rimfire rifles are allowed from Dec. 1 – Nov. 9 in the limited firearm deer zone during the open season, excluding deer, turkey, and migratory game birds.
  • Exceptions Apply: Refer to the current-year Fur Harvester Digest for nighttime furbearer regulation restrictions.

Carrying Deer License

  • Mandatory Requirement: During deer hunting seasons, individuals must carry a current-year deer, deer combo, or antlerless deer license or an unused Deer Management Assistance permit kill tag.

Shell Capacity for Shotguns and Rifles

  • Shotguns: Semi-automatic shotguns must not hold more than six shells in the barrel and magazine combined.
  • Rifles: The same restriction applies to semi-automatic rifles, excluding .22 caliber or smaller rimfire.
  • Fully Automatic Firearms: Prohibited.

Crossbow Use

  • General Use: Allowed during any season when a firearm is permitted for both big and small game.
  • Upper Peninsula Restrictions: Not allowed during the Dec. 1 - Jan. 1 late archery deer season and December muzzleloader deer season unless the hunter is disabled with a permit.
  • Bolt Specifications: Crossbow hunters must use bolts and quarrels at least 14 inches long with a broadhead point at least 7/8 inches wide.

Transportation Rules

Motor Vehicles (Including Snowmobiles)

  • Firearms: Must be unloaded and enclosed in a case or in the trunk of the vehicle.
  • Crossbows, Slingshots, Bows and Arrows: Must be unloaded, uncocked, and enclosed in a case or in the trunk of the vehicle.

Off-Road Vehicles

  • Firearms: Must be unloaded, enclosed in a case, or equipped with a key-locked trigger-housing mechanism.
  • Crossbows, Slingshots, Bows and Arrows: Must be unloaded and uncocked, enclosed in a case or in the trunk.

Motor-Propelled Boats or Sailboats

  • Firearms: Must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine.
  • Exceptions: Refer to the current-year Waterfowl Digest for specific waterfowl hunting regulations.

Airbows and Air Guns

  • Airbows: Unlawful to hunt with during any season for any species in Michigan.
  • Air Guns: Considered firearms, subject to firearm regulations for season, species, and hunting zone.

Handguns for Hunting

  • Age Restriction: Hunters must be at least 18 years old to hunt with or possess a handgun.
  • Holster Carry: Handguns must be carried in plain view or in a holster in plain view while in the field.
  • Transportation: Unloaded handguns must be in a closed case designed for firearm storage during transportation.

General Rules

  • CPL Holders and Exceptions: CPL holders may have additional privileges. Specific exemptions apply as per law.
  • Felony Restriction: Certain felons are prohibited from possessing ammunition and firearms.
  • Nonresidents: Must have a CPL or a license issued by their home state to legally carry or transport a handgun in Michigan.

Tree Stands and Ground Blinds Regulations

Tree Stands

Permitted Users

  • Allowed Users:
    • Bow or crossbow hunters for all species.
    • Bear, deer, turkey, and/or elk hunters using firearms.
    • Small game hunters (excluding migratory birds).
    • Fox, coyote, raccoon, and/or opossum hunters (day or night).
    • Bobcat hunters (day only).
    • Other firearm hunters are prohibited from using a raised platform or tree stand.

Raised Platform Definition

  • Definition: A horizontal surface constructed or manufactured to increase a person's field of vision beyond what is attainable from standing on the ground.

Tree Stands on Public Land

  • Permitted: Portable tree stands are allowed on public land.
  • Identification Requirement: Must display the owner's name and address, complete Michigan driver’s license number, or DNR Sportcard number.
  • Attachment Rules: Platforms cannot be affixed by nails, screws, or bolts except for manufacturer-supplied "T" bolts.
  • Placement Period: Placement on public lands permitted from Sept. 1 to March 1.
  • Shared Use: No exclusive use guaranteed; others may use tree stands on public land.

Tree Stands on Private Land

  • Permission Required: Use of permanent raised platforms or tree stands allowed with the landowner's permission.
  • Restriction on Commercial Forest Lands: Permanent blinds not allowed on Commercial Forest lands.

Ground Blinds

Definition

  • Ground Blind: A structure, enclosure, or material placed on the ground for concealing the user during hunting.

Ground Blinds on Public Land

  • Permitted Types on Public Land:

    • Type 1 (Portable Ground Blind): Must be portable, removed daily, no identification required.
    • Type 2 (Dead Natural Materials Ground Blind): Constructed exclusively from dead and natural materials, no identification required.
    • Type 3 (Constructed Ground Blind): All other blinds not meeting Type 1 or Type 2 requirements.
  • Identification Rules:

    • All ground blinds on public land must have the owner's name and address, complete Michigan driver’s license number, or DNR Sportcard number.
  • Placement and Removal:

    • Type 1 and Type 2 must be removed daily.
    • Type 3 has specific removal requirements based on the type of game (bear, elk, deer).

Ground Blinds on Private Land

  • Permission Required: Use of constructed ground blinds allowed on private land with the landowner's permission.
  • Abandonment Rules: Constructed blinds found on public land outside allowed periods considered abandoned.

General Regulations

  • Name Display: Owner's name and address, complete Michigan driver’s license number, or DNR Sportcard number must be on tree stands and ground blinds on public land.

Hunting Violations Penalties

Deer Violations

  • Fine: $1,000 per animal.
  • Antlered Deer Fine:
    • 8-10 points: Additional $500 each point.
    • 11+ points: Additional $750 each point.
  • Jail: Not Applicable.
  • License Revocation: Current year + three years.
  • Additional Antlered Offense:
    • First Offense: Additional two years.
    • Second Offense: Additional seven years.

Elk and Moose Violations

  • Fine:
    • Elk: $5,000 per animal.
    • Additional for Antlered Elk: Points 8-10, an extra $250 each point; 11+, an extra $500 each point.
    • Moose: Additional $5,000 if antlered.
  • Jail: Five-90 days.
  • License Revocation:
    • First Offense: 15 years.
    • Second Offense: Life.

Bear Violations

  • Fine: $3,500 per animal.
  • Jail: Five-90 days.
  • License Revocation:
    • Current year + 3 years.
    • First Offense: Additional two years.
    • Second Offense: Additional seven years.

Owl, Eagle, and Hawk Violations

  • Fine: $1,000-$1,500 per animal.
  • Jail: Not Applicable.
  • License Revocation: Not Applicable.

Wild Turkey Violations

  • Fine: $1,000 per animal.
  • Additional for Bearded Turkey: $1,000.
  • Jail: Not Applicable.
  • License Revocation: Five years.

Waterfowl Violations

  • Fine: $500 per animal.
  • Jail: Not Applicable.
  • License Revocation: Not Applicable.

Notes:

  • For antlered elk: 8-10 points incur an additional $250 each point, and 11+ points incur an additional $500 for each point.
  • Antlered moose violations result in an additional $5,000 fine.

Tagging and Transportation Guidelines

Tagging Your Kill

  • Deer, Bear, Elk, Turkey: Immediately validate your kill tag and attach it before field-dressing or moving the animal.
  • Attachment Method: Use a strong wire or cord across the back of the kill tag, folded and taped. Attach securely to antler, lower jaw, or leg.
  • Legibility: Ensure the kill tag is legible and visible for inspection.
  • Duration: The kill tag must stay attached until you process the animal or it's accepted by a commercial processor or taxidermist.
  • Note: If antlers or head are returned, the kill tag must accompany them.

Transportation Rules

  • General Transport: You can transport your own and another person’s lawfully taken game.
  • Migratory Birds: Must have one fully feathered wing left on the bird during transport.
  • Processed Deer, Elk, Bear: Head, kill tag, or seal must accompany processed animal.
  • Testing Exception: If submitted for disease testing, carry the kill tag and disease tag receipt.
  • Nonresident: Check and comply with restrictions in other states for importing game taken in Michigan.

Additional Deer Transport Restrictions

  • Areas Affected: Montcalm County; Otisco, Orleans, Ronald, North Plains townships in Ionia County; Nelson, Spencer, Courtland, Oakfield, Grattan, Cannon townships in Kent County.
  • Exceptions for Transport:
    • Deboned meat, quarters, or parts without spinal column or head attached.
    • Directly to a registered processor.
    • Intact deer head to a licensed taxidermist.

Roadkill Deer

  • Permit Requirement: Apply for a permit for roadkill deer possession outside the county where it was killed, except for specified parts.
  • Details: Applications available at Michigan.gov/RoadKillPermit.
  • CWD Management: Part of DNR efforts to manage Chronic Wasting Disease.

Out-of-State Hunt Return

  • Allowed Parts to Bring:
    • Hides, deboned meat, quarters, or parts without spinal column or head attached.
    • Finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth, or antlers on a cleaned skull cap.
  • Prohibited Parts: Bringing an entire head, carcass, or other prohibited parts may result in penalties.

Buying or Selling Game

  • Prohibition: Buying or selling game is generally not allowed.
  • Exceptions: Refer to the Wildlife Conservation Order 4.3 at Michigan.gov/DNRLaws.

Wild Game Processing

  • Processor Permit: Commercial meat processors handling wild game must register with the DNR.
  • Registration: Free registration at Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits.

Hunting with Dogs Guidelines

Use of Dogs for Deer or Elk Hunting

  • Prohibition: Dogs cannot be used in hunting deer or elk.
  • Exception: Dogs on a leash can be used to locate down or mortally wounded deer or elk. Accompanied by a licensed dog tracker, a hunter may possess a firearm, crossbow, or bow at the time and point of kill.
  • Night Tracking: Artificial lights may be used during night tracking, but a barking dog is prohibited on public lands.

Training of Hunting Dogs

  • Training Period: Dogs can be trained on game species from July 8 – April 15 in hunting areas or on private land.
  • Closed Season Training: Special permit required for dog training during the closed season (April 16 – July 7) issued by the Wildlife Division permit specialist.
  • Exceptions: Fox hound training in Zone 3 or private-land special dog training areas allowed during the closed season.
  • Contact for Permits: For information, contact Casey Reitz at 517-284-6210 or ReitzC@Michigan.gov. Visit Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits for forms.

Tracking Wounded Game with Dogs

  • Leashed Tracking: Dogs can be used on a leash to locate wounded deer or elk. Artificial lights are allowed.
  • Dog Tracker Accompaniment: A licensed dog tracker can accompany a hunter with a firearm, cocked crossbow, or bow during the kill. Artificial lights are permitted.

Retrieving Dogs from Private Property

  • Purpose: A person on foot may enter private property solely to retrieve a hunting dog, provided they do not possess a firearm unless prohibited by the landowner.
  • Time Limit: The person must not stay on the property beyond the reasonable time necessary to retrieve the dog.

Wolves and Dog Concerns

  • Wolf Territories: Wolves defend territories; conflicts with dogs are rare but may happen.
  • Avoidance Tips:
    • Avoid areas with recent wolf activity.
    • Scout beforehand for wolf sign, especially near meeting sites.
    • Distinguish wolf tracks from coyote and dog tracks.
    • Consider using bells or beepers on dog collars to reduce wolf attacks.

Reporting Conflicts with Wolves

  • Suspected Conflicts: Report all suspected wolf-dog conflicts to the DNR immediately for investigation.
  • Reporting Hotline: Call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
  • Lethal Control: Inquire about current rules regarding lethal take of wolves if in the act of killing or wounding a dog.

For additional information and updates, visit Michigan.gov/Wolves or contact the DNR Marquette Customer Service Center at 906-228-6561.

Mentored Youth Hunting Program

Overview

  • Participants: Youth hunters aged 9 and under.
  • Mentor Requirements: Mentors must be at least 21 years old, possess a valid Michigan hunting license (excluding apprentice license), and have hunting experience.

Harvestable Species

  • Inclusions: Small game, waterfowl, turkey (spring and fall), deer, furbearers, and all fish species.
  • Additional Licenses: Allows application/purchase of licenses for antlerless deer, bear, elk, and fall turkey.
  • Deer Kill Tag: Valid for any deer except during antlerless-only seasons.

Equipment Regulations

  • Youth Equipment: Archery, crossbow, or firearm, appropriately sized for the youth's physical abilities.
  • Mentor Devices: Limited to two hunting devices (shotgun, rifle, bow, or crossbow) in the field. Mentor responsible for the youth's actions.

Youth Apprentice License (10-16 Years)

Non-Hunter Safety Certified

  • Hunting with Mentor: Always with a mentor aged 21 or older with a regular hunting license for the same game.
  • Allowed Equipment: Archery, crossbow, or firearm.
  • Hunting Areas: Public and private/forest lands for small game, waterfowl, turkey, deer, bear, and elk.
  • Fur Harvest: Permitted with kill tags for bobcat, otter, marten, or fisher.

Hunter Safety Certified

  • Accompanied Hunting: Requires an adult aged 18 or older unless hunting on domiciled land of a parent or guardian.
  • License Eligibility: Resident and junior licenses available; nonresidents up to 16 may purchase resident and junior licenses.
  • Exemption from Restrictions: Exempt from antler point restrictions during deer seasons.
  • License Use: Apprentice hunters may use deer, deer combo, or antlerless deer licenses.

Liberty Hunt (Youth Deer Hunt)

  • Dates: Sept. 9-10, 2023.
  • Eligibility: Youth 16 and under, hunters with disabilities.
  • Allowed Equipment: Archery, crossbow, or firearm for youth 10-16.
  • License Types: Deer, deer combo, or antlerless deer licenses for youth 10-16; Mentored Youth Hunting Program for youth 9 and under.
  • Harvest Rules: Multiple antlerless deer allowed, only ONE antlered deer. No antler point restrictions. Hunter orange required. Baiting regulations apply.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend

  • Dates: Sept. 17-18, 2022.
  • Eligibility: Youth 16 and under with a junior base license.
  • Accompaniment: Must be with a parent, guardian, or someone 18 or older designated by the parent/guardian.
  • Species and Limits: Ducks, mergansers, geese, coots, and moorhens. Adults accompanying cannot harvest these species, except during the September portion of the Canada goose hunting season.

Special Draws for Youth in Managed Waterfowl Areas

  • Reservations: Opening-day afternoon youth hunts and other youth priority draws available in some areas.
  • Resources: Visit Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders for managed waterfowl hunting areas and Michigan.gov/Waterfowl for regulations.
  • Details: Refer to the current-year Waterfowl Digest for youth hunting specifics.

Hunters with Disabilities

Additional Resources

Michigan Veteran Discounts

  • Eligibility: Michigan resident veterans with a disability.
  • Discount Offered: Free hunting license for licenses not requiring a separate application.

Disability Bow Permit

  • Eligibility: Individuals with temporary or permanent disabilities affecting bow use.
  • Certification Criteria: Amputation, spinal cord injury, or functional draw test failure.
  • Application: Available at Michigan.gov/DNRAccessibility.

Permit to Hunt from a Standing Vehicle

  • Eligibility: Permanently disabled individuals unable to walk.
  • Benefits: Allows hunting and shooting from a parked vehicle.
  • Conditions: Subject to all regulations, including buck limits and antler point restrictions.

Use of Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) and Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (PAMD)

  • ORV Use: Display an orange flag to identify hunters with disabilities.
  • PAMD Use: Allowed where foot travel is permitted on public land.

Laser-Sighting Device Use

  • Legally Blind Hunters: Allowed with a sighted person aged 18+ and proper documentation.
  • Other Disabilities: Requires a permit issued by DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Use of Ground Blind on Public Land

  • Eligibility: Holders of permits to hunt from a standing vehicle, crossbow, or disabled person parking permit.
  • Conditions for Overnight Use: Name and address must be marked on the blind, removed within 10 days after the season.

Liberty Hunt

  • Dates: Sept. 10-11, 2022.
  • Qualifications: Veterans with 100% disability, standing vehicle/laser-sighting device permit holders, blind, or deaf.
  • Baiting: Allowed from Sept. 6-12; restrictions on bait volume and dispersal apply.

Independence Hunt

  • Dates: Oct. 13-16, 2022.
  • Qualifications: Same as Liberty Hunt.
  • Baiting: Allowed from Oct. 9-17; restrictions on bait volume and dispersal apply.

Note: All hunters participating in the Liberty and Independence Hunts must wear hunter orange. Baiting on Commercial Forest lands requires landowner permission.

Protected Wildlife and Live Animal Restrictions

Protected Wildlife

  • Protected Species: Eagles, hawks, owls, spotted fawns, spruce grouse, flying squirrels, wolverines, lynx, moose, cougars, cub bears, and sow bears with cubs are protected.
  • Nongame Birds: All nongame birds are protected, except for starlings, house sparrows, and feral pigeons.
  • Firearm Restrictions: Reptiles, amphibians, and songbirds cannot be shot with a firearm, including spring-, air-, or gas-propelled.

Wildlife Interaction Restrictions

  • Swimming Wildlife: It is prohibited to harm or harass deer, bear, or elk when they are swimming in a stream, river, pond, lake, or other body of water.

Reporting Requirements

  • Wounded or Killed Animals: You must include any wounded or killed game in your daily bag after a reasonable attempt to retrieve the animal.

Live Wild Animal Possession

  • Unlawful Possession: It is illegal to possess live game or protected animals from the wild unless under a permit issued by the DNR. Permits can be obtained at Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits.

Bringing Live Wild Animals into Michigan

  • Prohibition: Bringing live raccoon, skunk, wild rabbit or hare, Russian boar, wild turkey, wild turkey hybrid, mute swan, or their eggs into Michigan is unlawful. Permits are required for threatened or endangered species importation.

Wildlife Rehabilitation

  • Permit Requirement: A permit is necessary for the rehabilitation of injured wild animals in Michigan. Contact DNR Wildlife Division permit specialist Casey Reitz at 517-284-6210 or ReitzC@Michigan.gov for regulations.

Russian Boar Hunting

  • Public Land Hunting: Russian boar can be hunted on public land with a valid hunting license or a concealed pistol license.
  • Private Land Hunting: Permission from the landowner is required for hunting on private land.
  • Reporting: Hunters are encouraged to report Russian boar sightings or takings online at Michigan.gov/FeralSwine or by calling 517-284-4725.

Deer with Ear Tags

  • Hunting Regulations: Deer with ear tags may be hunted following all applicable deer hunting regulations.
  • Exotic Cervids: Exotic cervids found outside of a cervidae facility for more than 48 hours may be taken by hunting year-round with a valid license. Escaped cervids should be reported at 517-284-9453.

Albino or Piebald Deer

  • Hunting Allowance: Albino and piebald deer may be taken following all applicable deer hunting regulations.

Wildlife Diseases

Reporting Sick Wildlife

  • Reporting Procedures: If you encounter sick or dead wildlife, promptly report it at Michigan.gov/WildlifeDisease.

Lead Contamination in Game Meat

  • Lead Exposure Concerns: Wildlife shot with lead-containing bullets or pellets may have lead particles in the meat, posing risks to humans and wildlife.
  • Health Inquiries: For information on health effects, contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030 or visit Michigan.gov/WDM.
  • Public Health Department: Reach out to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-648-9642 or visit Michigan.gov/MDHHS for health-related queries.

Dioxin in Wild Game

  • Contamination Locations: Wild game samples from Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River floodplains in 2003, 2004, and 2007 contained high levels of dioxin.
  • Health Risks: Consumption of deer, turkey, squirrel, wood duck, or Canada geese from these areas may lead to adverse health effects, especially in children and women of childbearing age. Detailed information is available at Michigan.gov/Dioxin.

Handling and Processing Wild Game

  • Health Recommendations: Follow proper food safety practices recommended by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services when cooking venison and other game meats.
  • Safety Measures for DMU 487: When field-dressing deer in DMU 487, wear a mask and gloves (e.g., latex gloves) for personal protection.
  • Resources: Access information on venison field-dressing, meat preparation, and recipes in the DNR publication "How to Field Dress a White-Tailed Deer" at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Reporting Observations

  • Online Reporting: Share fish and wildlife observations online at Michigan.gov/EyesInTheField.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.