HomeLocal NewsWhen Does Hunting Season Start In Michigan: The Calendar

When Does Hunting Season Start In Michigan: The Calendar

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If you’re an ardent hunter curious about the hunting seasons in this beautiful state, you’ve come to the right place.

Get ready to gear up and take aim as hunting season approaches in Michigan! With its rich forests and abundant wildlife, the Great Lakes State offers hunters a thrilling outdoor experience.

But when does hunting season start? To help you plan your hunting adventures, we’ve got all the information you need. We’ll cover the dates and regulations from deer hunting to waterfowl and turkey.

When Does Hunting Season Start In Michigan?

Hunting season in Michigan typically starts in the fall, with specific dates varying depending on the type of game being hunted. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sets these dates each year, considering factors such as population sizes and conservation efforts. 

Typically, the hunting calendar runs on public and private lands from August 1 to March 31.

Deer Hunting Seasons In Michigan

1. Liberty Hunt – September 14 – 15, 2024

Kickstart your hunting season with the Liberty Hunt, a special opportunity for hunters with disabilities to enjoy the great outdoors and pursue their passion for hunting. 

Held on September 14th and 15th, it provides camaraderie and excitement in Michigan’s vast hunting grounds.

2. Early Antlerless Firearm – September 21 – 22, 2024

As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisp, hunters gear up for the Early Antlerless Firearm season. 

Taking place on September 21st and 22nd, this weekend offers a prime opportunity to target antlerless deer and contribute to the state’s wildlife management efforts.

3. Independence Hunt – October 17 – 20, 2024

Celebrate the spirit of independence with Michigan’s Independence Hunt, held from October 17 to 20th. This special season provides disabled hunters exclusive access to select areas, allowing them to enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors and connect with nature.

4. Archery: October 1 – November 14 & December 1, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Experience the art of archery hunting as you take to the woods from October 1 to November 14 and again from December 1, 2024, to January 1, 2025. 

With its emphasis on stealth and precision, archery season offers a thrilling challenge for hunters seeking a close encounter with their prey.

5. Regular Firearm – November 15 – 30, 2024

During this time, hunters across the state take to the forests and fields in pursuit of deer and other game, enjoying the camaraderie of the hunt and the thrill of the chase.

6. Muzzleloading (Zones 1, 2, and 3) – December 6 – 15, 2024

Step back in time and embrace the tradition of muzzleloading hunting in Zones 1, 2, and 3 from December 6 to 15th. With its focus on historical firearms and primitive techniques, muzzleloading season offers a unique and rewarding experience for hunters of all backgrounds.

7. Late Antlerless Firearm – December 16, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Round out the year with the Late Antlerless Firearm season, extending from December 16, 2024, to January 1, 2025. 

This final opportunity to harvest antlerless deer allows hunters to make the most of Michigan’s abundant wildlife resources before the arrival of the new year.

8. Extended Urban Archery – January 2 – 31, 2025

You can start the new year with the Extended Urban Archery season, running from January 2 to 31st, 2025. 

Offering urban hunters the chance to pursue deer within designated areas, this season provides a unique and exciting way to continue the hunting tradition well into the winter months.

You Can Also Read: What rifles can you use to hunt in lower Michigan?

Small Game Hunting Seasons In Michigan

Small game hunting in Michigan provides a wide array of species for hunters to pursue, such as squirrels, rabbits, hares, grouse, and pheasants. 

This ensures a diverse and exciting hunting experience, catering to the preferences and interests of different hunters. 

To ensure the conservation and sustainability of these species, Michigan has implemented specific season dates and bag limits for each species. 

This thoughtful approach allows for responsible hunting practices, preventing overhunting and ensuring the long-term survival of these small game animals. 

These regulations are also designed to vary across different state regions, accounting for each area’s unique ecological characteristics and population dynamics. 

Species Season Dates Bag Limits
Squirrel September 15 – March 1 Daily limit of 5
Possession limit of 10
Rabbit and Hare Cottontail Rabbit: Daily limit of 5
September 15 – March 31 Possession limit of 10
Snowshoe Hare: Daily limit of 5
September 15 – March 31 Possession limit of 10
Grouse Zone 1 & 2: Daily limit of 5
September 15 – November 14 Possession limit of 10
Zone 3: Daily limit of 3
Possession limit of 6
Pheasant Rooster Pheasant: Daily limit of 2
October 10 – November 14 Possession limit of 4

Waterfowl and Bird Hunting Seasons In Michigan

Michigan also provides many opportunities for people interested in hunting waterfowl and game birds. From turkey to ducks, geese, and woodcock, the state offers diverse options for hunters. 

Michigan has established seasonal dates, bag limits, and regulations to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations and maintain fair chase. These measures aim to strike a balance between hunters’ needs and wildlife preservation. 

1. Duck hunting

Michigan’s duck hunting is divided into three zones: North, Middle, and South. These zones have distinct season dates, with the North Zone typically starting in late September and ending in late November or early December. 

The Middle and South zones, on the other hand, begin in early to mid-October and finish in early December or January. During the hunting season, hunters can catch a maximum of 6 ducks daily, with particular restrictions for certain types of ducks.

2. Goose hunting

Goose hunting is divided into three categories: regular, early, and late seasons, with varying dates by zone, similar to duck hunting. The daily bag limits usually permit a larger number of light geese than dark geese, reflecting the population status and management objectives.

3. Turkey hunting 

Michigan offers turkey hunters the chance to partake in the spring and fall seasons. The spring season is divided into multiple periods, usually commencing in April. To participate in the spring hunt, hunters must apply for a restricted license. 

The fall season provides more flexibility, as hunting is allowed in specific areas from September to November. During the fall season, hunters can use either a bow, shotgun, or a combination of both.

4. Woodcock hunting 

The woodcock hunting season in Michigan typically extends from late September to November. Hunters are typically allowed a daily bag limit of 3 woodcocks, with a possession limit of 9 birds. 

As for other game birds like pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse, the seasons and limits are designated annually. 

Pheasant seasons are often divided by zone, while grouse hunting is restricted to specific regions where hunting is permitted, ensuring sustainable management of these species.

Elk Hunting

Season Structure Highly regulated to manage the elk population effectively
Licensing System Hunters must apply for a limited number of licenses through a drawing system
Elk Seasons – Early Season: September to October
– Late Season: December to January
Season Variability Exact dates vary annually and are subject to change based on wildlife management needs.

Bear Hunting

Hunting Zones Specific zones across the state
Season Structure Varied season dates and licensing contingent on the zone
Bear Management Units (BMUs) – Red Oak, Baldwin, and Gladwin BMUs: Early September to late October
– All Other BMUs: Mid-September to late October
Application Period Usually opens in May
Drawing for Licenses Occurs in June

Hunting License And Permits In Michigan

Hunting licenses and permits are essential for all hunters in Michigan before embarking on any hunting excursion. 

The type of license needed may vary based on factors such as the type of game being pursued, the hunter’s age, residency status, and whether they qualify as a senior or veteran. 

These licenses are obtainable from authorized outlets, including online platforms and local retailers.

Michigan has three hunting licenses:

  1. Base License – Mandatory for all hunters and a prerequisite for obtaining other hunting licenses.
  2. Deer License – Separate from the base license, specifically designed for deer hunting seasons.
  3. Waterfowl Stamp – Necessary for hunting ducks and geese.


We hope the question, when does hunting start in Michigan has been extensively answered. Hunting season in Michigan offers diverse opportunities for hunters to pursue their passion.

From deer hunting to small game and waterfowl, the state provides a thrilling outdoor experience. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources sets specific dates each year, taking into account conservation efforts and population sizes. 

Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper is a dedicated news blogger with a zeal for storytelling. Enthusiastically covering current events, he constantly seeks fresh angles and innovative ways to refine his craft and engage his readers.


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