Hunting in Michigan

Michigan Hunting at Glance

Michigan’s unique location, split between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas and surrounded on all sides by four of the five Great Lakes, gives it the world’s longest freshwater coastline, which is perfect for supporting animal populations of all types.

Perhaps for this reason, hunting in Michigan is truly a way of life and attracts hunters from outside the area too. The white-tailed deer population in the Great Lakes State is quite large, but because the state is so heavily hunted, it can be difficult to locate mature bucks.

Waterfowl hunting opportunities also abound -especially popular in Saginaw Bay and the St. Clair River Flats, though there are numerous places to pursue geese and puddle ducks throughout the state.

Michigan is a great location for upland bird hunting, particularly ruffed grouse and woodcock, and turkey hunts are quite popular.

Black bears are common in Michigan, and licenses are given via drawing. A base license is required for anyone who hunts in Michigan. Once a hunter obtains a base license, additional species licenses may be purchased.

Michigan ranks #23 in the nation for hunting license per capita and has a strong hunting culture with over 6.4% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Key Insights

  • Hunting in Michigan is a popular activity, with [over 644,000 registered hunters in the state.
  • Waterfowl hunting is popular in certain areas of the state, including [Saginaw Bay] and the [St. Clair River Flats].
  • Michigan is known for its upland bird hunting and turkey hunts.
  • Deer and small game are the most popular types of hunting in Michigan, but opportunities for big game animals such as bear, elk, and moose also exist.
  • Small game animals found in Michigan include squirrel, rabbit, grouse, and pheasant.

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 10,077,331
Hunters 644,949
Hunter % 6.40%
Hunters Rank 23

The state of Michigan is predominantly private land, though about 20.2% of the total acres is considred huntable public land. Michigan ranks #13 overall in acres of public huntable land.

Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 36,357,800
Huntable Public 7,346,000 20.20% 13
Private Land 28,183,930 77.52% 35
Tribal Land 5,100 0.01% 26

Michigan ranks #35 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and number 26 in terms of acres of tribal land.

Michigan Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Michigan Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Michigan DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Michigan DNR

P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909

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Popular Game to Hunt in Michigan

As far as the most common types of hunting, deer and small game are the most popular in Michigan. However, there are also opportunities to hunt bear, elk, moose, and other big game animals.

Small Game Hunting in Michigan

When it comes to small game hunting, Michigan has a lot to offer. From squirrel and rabbit to grouse and pheasant, there are plenty of options for hunters of all skill levels. One of the most popular small game animals in Michigan is the squirrel. With an estimated population of around 6 million, there are plenty of opportunities to bag a squirrel or two. And because they are relatively small and easy to track, they make an ideal target for beginning hunters. Rabbit is another popular choice, especially among those who enjoy cooking their own game. With over 2 million rabbits statewide, hunters have plenty of chances to fill their freezer with this tasty treat. For those looking for a challenge, Michigan also offers excellent grouse and pheasant hunting. These birds are notoriously difficult to shoot, but the rewards can be great.

Big Game Hunting in Michigan

There are a variety of big game animals to hunt in Michigan, including whitetail deer, moose, elk and black bear. Whitetail deer are perhaps the most popular game animal in Michigan, due to their abundance and the fact that they can be found in nearly every corner of the state. Moose are another popular choice, as they are relatively large and challenging to hunt. Elk are also a popular option, particularly for those who enjoy a challenge, as they can be difficult to track down. Black bears are another viable option for those looking to hunt big game in Michigan, though they can be dangerous and are not recommended for beginners. There are many other animals to hunt in Michigan, but these are the most popular among hunters.

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Michigan

Michigan offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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Popular Public Hunting Land in Michigan

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the most popular public land to hunt in Michigan is the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located in the Upper Peninsula and covers nearly 95,000 acres. It is a popular destination for deer, bear, and small game hunting. The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is another popular hunting spot in Michigan. The refuge is located in the Lower Peninsula and covers nearly 30,000 acres. It is a popular destination for waterfowl and small game hunting. The Huron-Manistee National Forests cover nearly 2 million acres of land in Michigan. They are a popular destination for deer, bear, turkey, and small game hunting. The Ottawa National Forest covers nearly 1 million acres of land in Michigan. It is a popular destination for deer, bear, turkey, and small game hunting. Finally, Michigan State Parks offer a variety of hunting opportunities across the state. They are a popular destination for deer, waterfowl, and small game hunting.

1. Seney National Wildlife Refuge
2. Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
3. Huron-Manistee National Forests
4. Ottawa National Forest
5. Michigan State Parks

Hunting Private Land in Michigan

Since the majority of Michigan is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
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