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Hunting in Michigan

With countless wildlife and a vast array of landscapes, Michigan is a hunter’s dream come true. From the sweeping forests and wetlands of the Upper Peninsula to the rolling hills and woodlands of the Lower Peninsula, hunters have plenty of options for their next adventure in The Great Lake State.

In this detailed guide, we have covered all you need to know about hunting in Michigan. You can read all about what types of animals you can hunt here, the best places to hunt them, their hunting season, and hunting license information.

Hunting in Michigan

What Can You Hunt in Michigan?

Michigan is home to an impressive variety of small game animals that can be hunted with a bow or firearm, such as rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, opossums, and skunks. Furbearers like coyotes and bobcats are also available for hunting with the proper license.

When it comes to big game hunting in Michigan, during the fall season deer reign supreme; white-tailed deer can be pursued by both rifle and bow users alike. Black bear hunters must acquire special permits but have access to great spots across the state too. Elk and turkey populations are concentrated in certain areas so check your local regulations before you go out.

Waterfowl abound throughout Michigan – ducks and geese being among some of the most sought-after species for avid hunters here. Pheasants, grouse & woodcock make up other popular birds requiring skillful tracking and harvesting techniques from experienced outdoorsmen.


Michigan is renowned for its outstanding deer hunting. From the Upper Peninsula’s rolling hills to the wooded forests of the Lower Peninsula, there are plenty of spots where hunters can spot these incredible animals.

White-tailed deer are among the most common species you’ll find in Michigan and they often inhabit forested areas with ample cover and food sources like acorns or other nuts. During fall and winter months, you might even see them grazing alongside roadsides or in open fields.

When it comes to planning your hunt, be sure to check all applicable regulations so that you’re aware of any additional rules specific to your chosen area – including archery season, firearm season, muzzleloader season, or antlerless season restrictions.

Don’t forget quality gear – a rifle or bow suited for game hunting as well as binoculars for spotting targets from afar will make all the difference on your next trip out into nature’s playground. Don’t forget camouflage clothing either; this trusty attire choice helps keep hunters hidden while they wait patiently for their shot.

Deer Season Michigan

Season Dates
Liberty Hunt (Youth & Disable Hunt) Sep 09 – Sep 10
Archery Oct 01 – Nov 14, Dec 01 – Jan 01
Regular firearm Nov 15 – Nov 30
Muzzleloader (Zones 1, 2, 3) Dec 01 – Dec 10
Early Antlerless Firearm Sep 16 – Sep 17
Late Antlerless Firearm Dec 11 – Jan 01
Independence Hunt Oct 19 – Oct 22


Michigan is home to one of the largest herds of elk in the US, ranging from the Upper Peninsula all across down into Lower Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides plenty of hunting opportunities for these majestic animals, including archery and rifle seasons as well as special hunts for youth and disabled hunters alike. They also offer guided tours with experienced guides who know how to find and hunt them!

These elk are some serious contenders; bulls can weigh up to 800 pounds while cows tip the scales at 500 pounds – a real challenge for any hunter.

Elk Season Michigan

Season Dates
Unit X Aug 29 – Sep 01
Unit X Sep 15 – Sep 18
Unit L Sep 29 – Oct 02
Unit H, I, X Dec 09 – Dec 17


The majestic moose is the largest member of the deer family and can be found roaming in Europe, Asia, and North America. Reaching up to 6.5-9 feet long and weighing around 700-1000 pounds with varying colors from grayish or reddish brown to all-black individuals – they are an impressive sight.

Moose have exceptional swimming skills as well as incredible speed reaching close to 55 mph, while their hearing and sense of smell make up for their weak vision. Wolves are usually the only predators that pose a threat against full-grown adult moose – but these animals live an average of 27 years in the wild.

Moose Season

Season Dates
Archery Sep 09 – Sep 30, Sep 07 – Sep 30
Antlered Rifle Oct 01 – Oct 14
Antlerless Rifle Oct 01 – Oct 14
Muzzleloader Sep 09 – Sep 17, Sep 14 – Sep 22


Pronghorn are a truly iconic species that have been around Michigan since the late 1800s, and while they may not be as plentiful as other big game animals, their hunt provides an incredible challenge. You’ll find them grazing in open grasslands and shrublands throughout much of the western Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

If you’re looking to take on pronghorn hunting, it’s important to get your ducks in order first: you need a valid Michigan hunting license plus tags for each buck before heading out. The season is usually only from mid-August till early October so make sure you plan accordingly.

Patience is key when waiting for these antelopes; they can often be quite shy but with enough preparation and knowledge, your hunt will surely be successful and enjoyable.

Hunting Pronghorns in Michigan

Pronghorn Season

Season Dates
Archery (Either Sex) Sep 01 – Sep 20
Archery (Buck only) Aug 15 – Aug 31
Rifle Oct 07 – Oct 15
Muzzleloader Sep 21 – Sep 29


The black bear is the only species of bear living in Michigan, and they mostly have dark coats with different hues like brown, cinnamon, blue-gray, and blonde found on some individuals.

An adult’s height can range between two to three feet at the shoulder when standing upright while their length stretches from three to five feet long. Males are usually bigger than females.

These solitary animals come together during mating season or if a female has cubs or yearlings. It has been illegal since 1995 to hunt them with young ones by their side. With bag limits set for one per person each year, hunters tend to use bait or dogs (or both!) as methods of pursuit in this state.

Bear Season Michigan

Zones Dates
Zone 01 (Part 01) Sep 06 – Oct 21
Zone 01 (Part 02) Sep 11 – Oct 26
Zone 01 (Part 03) Sep 25 – Oct 26
Zone 02 (Part 01) Sep 09 – Sep 19
Zone 02 (Part 02) Oct 06 – Oct 12

Zone 01: Amasa, Drummond Island, Gwinn, Carney, Newberry, Bergland, Baraga

Zone 02: Baldwin, Gladwin, Red Oak


Heading out to hunt turkeys in Michigan? With both Eastern and Rio Grande varieties, you’ll have plenty of chances to bag your bird. Spring is prime time for turkey hunting here when they’re most active and can be found in large numbers.

To increase your success rate, look for places with lots of food sources like oak and hickory trees as well as grassy fields or open meadows – but don’t forget about roosting sites like brush piles or thickets too.

When it comes to gear, make sure you have a good shotgun loaded up with suitable ammo that packs enough punch for taking on big game birds. A few decoys may also help set the scene if that’s part of your strategy.

Camouflage clothing is key: not only does this keep you hidden from sharp-eyed turkeys but also helps ensure any birds nearby won’t spook away before you get a shot off at them.

Wild Turkey Season

Season Dates
Spring Turkey Season  Apr 22 – May 31
Fall Turkey Season Sep 15 – Nov 14
Spring Area 1 Apr 23 – May 06
Spring Area 2 Apr 23 – May 31
Spring Area 3 (Part 01) Apr 23 – Apr 29
Spring Area 3 (Part 02) Apr 23 – May 06
Spring Area 4 (Part 01) Apr 23 – May 29
Spring Area 4 (Part 02) Apr 23 – May 13
Spring Area 4 (Part 03) May 14 – May 31
Spring Area 4 (Part 04) Jun 01 – Jun 07
Spring (Private Land Only) Apr 23 – May 31


Bobcats are majestic animals, native to Michigan and found in its wooded areas. An incredibly elusive species, it takes patience and skill to even catch a glimpse of one in the wild. But if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience that’s sure to make your heart race.

When hunting Bobcats in this state, remember they’re protected by law and require special permits before any hunt can take place. If you do manage to locate one, however, it will provide an exciting opportunity for success.

It is important when tracking them as they usually inhabit dense forests or thick brush – making them difficult creatures to spot at times. They may also be seen near jagged outcroppings or lush hillsides with plenty of vegetation around.

Despite being solitary animals normally, during mating season Bobcats form small family groups – further emphasizing their incredible intelligence and adaptability within nature itself.

Hunting Bobcats in Michigan


Bobcat Season

Unit Dates
Units A, B, C Jan 01 – Mar 01
Unit D Jan 01 – Feb 01
Unit G Jan 01 – Jan 20
Unit H Jan 01 – Jan 11


Hunting coyotes in Michigan can be an adrenaline-filled experience for any avid hunter. During the winter months when they are most active, you’ll find these sly and intelligent predators roaming both rural and urban areas.

To have success in tracking down a coyote, you must remain patient, stay alert to your surroundings, and possess the necessary gear such as camouflage clothing or quality optics.

When hunting these animals, it is necessary to abide by all state regulations and laws regarding them. Having knowledge of the terrain will also prove beneficial in your search for a successful hunt.

With proper preparation comes a reward; if done correctly there should be no problem bagging yourself a coyote while hunting in Michigan.

Coyote Season

Species Dates
Coyote Jan 01 – Dec 31


Raccoons are a popular game animal in Michigan, and luckily they can be hunted year-round with no bag limit. If you’re looking for the perfect hunting spot, be sure to check out wooded areas, marshes, or streams – these are prime raccoon habitats.

Whatever weapon of choice you decide on – firearms or archery equipment – keep in mind that these critters come out at night so your strategy may need some adjusting.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with all of Michigan’s regulations before heading out on your hunt. This will ensure safe and responsible hunting practices. With careful preparation and knowledge of state laws, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your hands on this devious little creature.

Raccoon Season

Species Dates
Raccoon Oct 01 – Mar 31

Fox Season

Species Dates
Fox Oct 15 – Mar 01

Rabbit Season

Species Dates
Cottontail Rabbit & Snowshoe Hare Sep 15 – Mar 31

Pheasant Season

Hunting Pheasant in Michigan

Zones Dates Bag Limit
Zone 1 Oct 10 – Oct 31 2 per day (male only)
Zone 2, Zone 3 Oct 20 – Nov 14 2 per day (male only)
December PMU Dec 01 – Jan 01 2 per day (male only)

Quail Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Quail Oct 20 – Nov 14 5 per day

Grouse Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Ruffed Grouse (Early) Sep 15 – Nov 14 5 per day
Ruffed Grouse (Late) Dec 01 – Jan 01 5 per day
Sharp-tailed Grouse (Zone 01) Oct 10 – Oct 31 2 per day

Fisher Season

Species Dates
Fisher Dec 02 – Dec 11

Woodcock Season

Species Dates
Woodcock Sep 15 – Oct 29

Crow Season

Species Dates
Crow Aug 01 – Sep 30, Feb 01 – Mar 31

Opossum Season

Species Dates
Opossum Jan 01 – Dec 31

Skunk Season

Species Dates
Skunk Jan 01 – Dec 31

Squirrel Season

Hunting Squirrels in Michigan

Species Dates
Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel Sep 15 – Mar 31
Ground Squirrel Jan 01 – Dec 31
Red Squirrel Jan 01 – Dec 31

Porcupine Season

Species Dates
Porcupine Jan 01 – Dec 31

Woodchuck Season


Species Dates
Woodchuck Jan 01 – Dec 31

Russian Boar Season

Species Dates
Russian Boar Jan 01 – Dec 31

Weasel Season

Species Dates
Weasel Jan 01 – Dec 31

Feral Pigeon Season

Species Dates
Feral Pigeon Jan 01 – Dec 31

Sparrow Season

Species Dates
Starling & House Sparrow Jan 01 – Dec 31

Duck Season

Hunting Ducks in Michigan

Season Dates Bag Limit
North Zone Sep 30 – Nov 26, Dec 02 – Dec 03 6 per day
Middle Zone Oct 07 – Dec 03, Dec 16 – Dec 17 6 per day
South Zone Oct 14 – Dec 10, Dec 30 – Dec 31 6 per day

Goose Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
Dark Goose (North Zone) Sep 01 – Dec 16 5 per day
Dark Goose (Middle Zone) Sep 01 – Sep 30, Oct 07 – Dec 22 5 per day
Dark Goose (South Zone) Sep 01 – Sep 30, Oct 14 – Dec 10, Dec 30 – Jan 07, Feb 03 – Feb 12 5 per day
Light Goose (North Zone) Sep 01 – Dec 16 20 per day
Light Goose (Middle Zone) Sep 01 – Sep 30, Oct 07 – Dec 22 20 per day
Light Goose (South Zone) Sep 01 – Sep 30, Oct 14 – Dec 10, Dec 30 – Jan 07, Feb 03 – Feb 12 20 per day

Dark Goose = (Canada Goose, Brant, White-fronted Goose)

Light Goose = (Snow Goose, Blue Ross’s Goose)

Coot Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
North Zone Sep 24 – Nov 20, Nov 26 – Nov 27 15 per day
Middle Zone Oct 08 – Dec 04, Dec 17 – Dec 18 15 per day
South Zone Oct 15 – Dec 11, Dec 31 – Jan 01 15 per day

Merganser Season

Season Dates Bag Limit
North Zone Sep 24 – Nov 20, Nov 26 – Nov 27 5 per day
Middle Zone Oct 08 – Dec 04, Dec 17 – Dec 18 5 per day
South Zone Oct 15 – Dec 11, Dec 31 – Jan 01 5 per day

Teal Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Teal Sep 01 – Sep 16 6 per day

Snipe Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Snipe Sep 01 – Nov 09 8 per day

Rail Season

Hunting Rails in Michigan

Species Dates Bag Limit
Sora & Virginia Rail Sep 01 – Nov 09 25 per day

Gallinule Season

Species Dates Bag Limit
Gallinule Sep 01 – Nov 09 1 per day

Michigan Hunting License Information

Here’s what you need to know when hunting in Michigan:

First off, all hunters must be 12 or older before they can purchase their permit. To do so, residents will have to show proof of residency, and minors under 18 will need evidence that they completed a hunter safety course.

Once the requirements are met, it’s time to choose which type of license best fits your needs – deer licenses for those looking for bigger game; rabbit and squirrel permits for small critters; waterfowl tags if ducks or geese are in season; and furbearer certificates when foxes or coyotes take center stage.

Depending on where you hunt though, additional stamps might also be necessary before setting out into the field. And don’t forget bowhunting and muzzleloading regulations too.

Finally, remember that following DNR guidelines is essential during any hunt: wearing blaze orange clothing at certain times throughout the year as well as respecting bag limits per species hunted.

Where Can You Hunt in Michigan?

Michigan is a mecca for avid hunters, with its diverse array of wildlife. From deer and bear to turkey, grouse, pheasant and rabbit – the Great Lake State has it all. But beyond just variety in game animals, Michigan boasts some of the best waterfowl hunting in the country.

For those looking to explore this incredible natural beauty through hunting, there are plenty of options available across both peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula offers vast public land areas teeming with wildlife while the Lower Peninsula’s landscape includes numerous state-run WMAs as well as private clubs that provide guided hunts along with other amenities like lodging or meals for their members.

Public Hunting Places in Michigan

Ottawa National Forest

Straddling Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ottawa National Forest is a must-visit destination for all hunters. Boasting over 1 million acres of public land, this area offers an abundance of game including deer, black bear, ruffed grouse, and turkey. With rolling hills and dense forests that vary in terrain – you can find the perfect spot to hunt using either a rifle or bow.

Not only will you have plenty of luck hunting here; but also be rewarded with some spectacular views while exploring its many trails. From crystal clear streams to picturesque lakes – the wildlife abounds making it a great choice for any hunter looking for success on their next outing.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

With over 95,000 acres of public land for hunting, Seney National Wildlife Refuge is a paradise for those passionate about the sport. From open fields to mature hardwood forests and conifer swamps, hunters will find plenty of varied terrain in which to pursue their quarry. Species like white-tailed deer, black bear, ruffed grouse, woodcock, and snowshoe hare are all available game – with waterfowl also abundant onsite.

Hunters can take advantage of traditional methods such as still-hunting and stand hunting but they may also bring along their four-legged friends: dogs are permitted when it comes to pursuing upland birds like grouse or woodcock. Plus there are even designated dog training areas throughout the refuge where you can prepare your pup pregame.

Before heading out into the field, however, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with local regulations; make sure to secure a valid Michigan hunting license plus an additional permit from Seney itself before embarking on your hunt.

Huron–Manistee National Forests

HuronManistee National Forests is a hunter’s dream, offering some of the best hunting in Michigan. With over 1 million acres of public land and an abundance of wildlife, you’re sure to find something that fits your style.

The vast expanse offers more than just game species – white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and pheasants are all here too – but also coyotes, bobcats, and foxes among other animals. Whether you’re tracking with a bow or rifle – there’s something for everyone in these woods.

Before embarking on your adventure though, it pays to remember safety first! Make sure to dress bright with blaze orange clothing so as not to be mistaken by those who share this space with us; plus make sure you’ve read up on local regulations before venturing out into nature.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge offers novice and experienced hunters the perfect setting. Sprawling across 10,000 acres of pristine land, it’s an ideal destination for those looking to bag a deer or two in the woods. You can also go waterfowling during the regular hunting season or hunt small game like rabbits and squirrels with required permits year-round.

For your convenience, there are special blinds scattered throughout the refuge that make duck or goose hunting easier than ever before. Designated trails will lead you through wooded areas where plenty of game animals roam free. To stay safe on your trip, be sure to follow all hunting regulations at all times.

Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers some of the best hunting opportunities in the state. The landscape is diverse and provides ample cover for game animals such as deer, bears, turkeys, grouse, and waterfowl.

Not to mention a wealth of small critters like squirrels and rabbits that can be hunted too. Furbearers like coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and beavers are also abundant.

But it’s not just about the wildlife; the U.S. Forest Service takes an active role in managing Hiawatha NF with regulations designed to ensure safe yet rewarding experiences for hunters who have obtained valid state licenses plus any additional permits or tags necessary for their chosen quarry.

Private Hunting Places in Michigan

If you’re looking for an excellent hunting getaway in Michigan, consider private hunting land. It’s a great way to escape the busier public grounds and enjoy some quality time with nature. Here’s what you need to know before heading out there:

First, make sure the property is actually open for public hunting. Some places may not allow hunters on their land – check online or contact the owner directly beforehand. Also, double-check that your license and any other permits are up-to-date; local laws vary from state to state so be sure to do your research.

Lastly, remember to respect the property when out there. Leave no trace behind and follow all safety regulations set by its owners – it’ll guarantee a great experience while respecting wildlife habitat at the same time.

Private hunting lands in Michigan are perfect if you’re seeking a unique hunting adventure; just use caution before planning your trip!