The whitetail deer is Michigan’s most hunted animal and many people migrate to Michigan in the winter months to bag some of the biggest bucks in the United States.

In fact, Michigan was ranked by Outdoor Life as the state with the 2nd largest deer harvest in the nation.

As hunting season nears once again, it pays to stay up to date on the latest rules and start times for different hunting seasons. To purchase a license and get the official start time of hunting and trap season, visit the website of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

For land to safely and legally hunt on within season, Michigan Whitetail Properties offers hunting properties all across Michigan.

With this said, here is everything you need to know about Michigan hunting seasons this year.


Michigan Deer Season

Michigan Hunting Season

Firearms Season: November 15-30

Archery Season: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14, 2018/ Dec. 1, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019

These dates are the same each year, although antlerless firearm seasons differ each year.

For private land only this year:

  • Early Antlerless Season is: Sept. 22-23
  • Late Antlerless Season: Dec. 17, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019

Muzzleloader season differs each year on public and private lands. This year, muzzleloader season will run from Dec. 7-16, 2018 for Zone 1,2 and Dec. 7-23, 2018 for Zone 3.

All hunters must be above 10 years old and are required to purchase a base license for antler-less deer seasons. Hunters are allowed one deer per tag. Fortunately, tags are very cheap and generally under $10.

All hunters are required to wear orange when hunting and using drones to track down deer are illegal. Baiting is also illegal in a number of counties including: Alcona, Alpena, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oscoda, Ottawa and Shiawassee. In other counties, baiting can only occur between Sept. 15 – Jan. 1. For more information visit this webpage.

Michigan Turkey Season

Michigan turkey season

Fall Turkey Hunting Season: Sept. 15 through Nov. 14, 2018
Hunt 234 Licenses for Spring Turkey Season is Valid May 7-31 each year

The introduction of a fall turkey season was meant to help control a rapidly growing turkey population across public Michigan lands.

Generally, the rule of thumb is one turkey for one tag, any sex. There is a quota for both public and private turkey tags for each season that differs based on county and zone.  

Baiting is illegal and so is using the same tag for multiple turkeys or using someone else’s tags.

Hunting methods for spring turkey season include:


Michigan Small Game Season

Michigan small game season

Aside from turkeys, you may be interested in other small game animals. With an applicable license, the following animals are open for hunting and trapping year round with no bag limits:

  • Weasels
  • Skunks
  • Woodchucks
  • Opossums
  • Ground squirrels
  • Starlings
  • Feral swine
  • Feral pigeons
  • Porcupines

The following are small game seasons available in Michigan:

  • Woodcocks Sept. 22 – Nov. 5, 2018
  • Crows Aug. 1 – Sept. 30 and Feb. 1 – Mar. 31
  • Qual Oct. 20 – Nov. 14
  • Rabbit: Sept 15 – Mar 31
  • Sharp Tailed Grouse Oct 10 – Oct 31
  • Ruffed Grouse Sept 15 – Nov 14 and Dec 1 – Jan 1

Coyotes can be trapped and hunted year round if they damage or present a threat to your private property without a license.

For more information about small game seasons and bag limits, visit here.  


Trapping Season

Michigan trapping season

Base licenses and fur harvesting licenses for trapping and fur harvesting are required and limited to the following animals:

  • Badger
  • Beaver
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Fisher
  • Fox
  • Marten
  • Mink
  • Muskrat
  • Otter
  • Raccoon

To see when these animals are in season for fur harvesting, visit here.


Michigan Bear Hunting

Michigan Bear Season

Unfortunately, bear hunting season varies greatly by county and zone. Licensing and bag limits do as well, so you can visit this site for more information. If you do catch a bear, it’s imperative that you bring the pelt, head, or entire bear to a proper DNR station for registration.