5 Things To Know Before Hunting Season

With the start of hunting season, Michigan has certain laws that all hunters should be aware of. Here are 5 things you should know before you grab your hunter’s orange and head out into the woods.[1]

  1. GET A LICENSE. This may seem self-explanatory, but hunting without a license has serious consequences. Michigan law prohibits people from taking or possessing a wild animal without possessing a valid license to hunt. MCL 324.43509(2). The rules vary in different circumstances (ex. minors), but generally, if you are hunting, you should have license.
  1. PACK YOUR RIFLE AWAY. This is one of the more obscure requirements that people should to know before hunting. When transporting rifles for hunting purposes, Michigan law allows individuals to transport firearms without a valid hunting license if the firearm is unloaded (both barrel and magazine) and either enclosed in a locked case or placed in a part of the vehicle not readily accessible to any occupant of the vehicle (i.e. put them in the trunk). MCL 324.43513(1) This exception also applies to bows if they are unstrung, enclosed in a case, or placed in a vehicle where its location is not readily accessible to any occupant of the vehicle. MCL 324.43513(1)

Overall, the safest bet is to unload (completely—barrel and magazine) your firearm or unstring your bow and place them in a locked container in the trunk of your car or bed of your truck—a place not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.

  1. DON’T DRINK AND HUNT. Michigan explicitly prohibits individuals from being drunk or intoxicated while hunting. MCL 750.167a. A conviction under this section may prohibit you from applying or possessing a hunting license for 3 years.
  1. WATCH WHERE YOU ARE WALKING. Under Michigan’s Recreational Trespass Act, it is unlawful to enter another person’s property to engage in recreational activity or trapping without the consent of the owner if the property is fenced or enclosed. This also applies to property that is maintained in a manner that excludes intruders. An example of this is property that contains no trespassing signs. MCL 324.73102(1)(a)-(b).This includes farm property and wooded areas that are connected to farm property. MCL 324.73102(2). Notably, a person not possessing a firearm may enter another’s property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog, unless otherwise previously prohibited by the owner. MCL 324.73102(4). So, as a courtesy to your fellow neighbor, let them know you are hunting and get their oral or written consent in case you have to go find your deer.
  1. GRAB YOUR HUNTER ORANGE. Michigan law requires individuals that are hunting during the established daylight shooting hours between August 15 and April 30 to wear at least 50% hunter orange. Garments with hunter orange may include a caps, hats, vests, jackets, or rain gear that is on the hunter’s outermost garment and must be visible on all sides of the hunter.

For more in-depth license requirements, hunting hours, and all other know-hows, consult the Department of Natural Resources’ latest Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest or your local newspaper. For any legal questions that you may have, feel free to contact one of White Law’s experienced attorneys at 517-316-1195.

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