Michigan Hunting Basics
All hunters born after January 1, 1960, must complete a hunter safety course before acquiring a license. This course can be completed in one of three ways:
- Traditional in-class instruction and in-person field day
- An online course and in-person field day
- A take-home study course and in-person field day
Each format has its own benefits: in-class instruction allows you to have hands-on instruction, while an online course gives you the flexibility to learn on your own time. Regardless of the format you choose, a field day is required.
Once you have completed the course and gotten your hunting license, you can legally hunt within open hunting grounds. Hunting in unapproved areas could result in fines and/or revocation of your license.
Seasons and Species
There are also limitations on when, where, and what kind of animals you can hunt:
- Bears (May 1-June 1): Special applications are required for bear hunting. Using a point system, the Department of Natural Resources will select a few hunters to partake in bear hunting.
- Deer: There are several designated periods for deer hunting, like archery and bowhunting (Oct 1-Nov 14) and antlerless hunting (Sept. 18-19). These periods are usually categorized by weaponry and may have designated zones.
- Elk: Like deer hunting protocol, Elk hunting periods vary and depend on the need for population management. Elk licenses are limited and only available through a drawing.
- Turkey (September 15-November 14): Hunters need to apply for a limited quota license.
- Small Game: There are no dates for small game hunting season, but pheasant hunters need a license unless exempt by age or hunting location.
- Waterfowl: Several licenses are required to hunt waterfowl, including a base license, Waterfowl Hunting License, Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp, and HIP Endorsement.
- Fur Harvesting: There are no dates for fur harvesting and trapping, but hunters must acquire a fur harvesting license.
Most hunting licenses are straightforward, but there are other rules hunters must follow to avoid breaking the law. It may feel like overkill, but these rules help prevent excessive killing and trapping, hunting in public areas, and population control. Keep reading for tips to help you stay safe and avoid trouble this hunting season.
Taking time to familiarize yourself with your firearm is crucial. Proper gun safety and accuracy practice help you avoid misfiring or hazardous firearm use that could endanger others.
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If there are trespassing signs within an approved zone, that means you’re hunting near private property. In these situations, the best thing to do is contact the landowner ahead of time and get their permission to hunt on their land. If they give you the green light, follow state law and any additional restrictions the landowner may have.
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Never hunt outside of designated hunting seasons. The Department of National Resources posts current dates every year, license application deadlines, and important information. Always stay up to date to avoid hunting out of season.
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Michigan law requires hunters to wear orange outerwear at all times during a hunt. Your hunting clothes must be 50% orange and visible from all directions at all times. Jackets, caps, vests, and raincoats are easy articles to incorporate into your hunting attire.
Wearing orange helps you stand out from other hunters so they don’t shoot you accidentally.
Kill tags are required for all deer kills. Each tag must include the date of the kill, the deer’s gender, and the number of antler points. Tags should be completed and turned in to the DNR as soon as possible.
No Baiting No Feeding
Baiting and Feeding are banned in the Lower Peninsula and surveillance areas in the Upper Peninsula.
It is illegal to obstruct or interfere with another hunter. Doing so is considered a misdemeanor offense, and it could jeopardize the safety of others in the area.
Legal Guidance for Hunters
If you are accused of breaking the law, White Law PLLC can help. Whether it’s a hunting license discrepancy or accusations of hunter harassment, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge you need to succeed.
Contact our firm for more information.
Call or text (517) 316-1195 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form