Penalties for Michigan Hunters Taking Game Out of Season

Penalties for Michigan Hunters Taking Game Out of Season

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With a week left in Michigan’s Regular Firearm deer season, it is important to remember that with the change in the calendar comes a change in what you can legally hunt.  With renewed challenges involving COVID-19 and seemingly new restrictions on gatherings and even eating in restaurants, people are likely anxious to get out of the house and enjoy their favorite outdoor activity.

The Michigan DNR website has a page devoted to hunting seasons. From house sparrows to bears, the timing and length of hunts for particular animals vary. Crows and ruffled grouses have two seasons where the animals have brief respites in between. Hunting deer, a highly popular activity for state residents, have staggered times with specific dates for hunters with disabilities and particular weapons uses, such as bows, firearms, and muzzleloaders.  In fact, parts of Michigan may even allow a shotgun or straight walled cartridge rifle (e.g. .350 Legend or .450 Bushmaster) during the traditional muzzleloader season.  Be sure to check the DNR’s Hunting Digest before you venture out.

Knowing Hunting Laws Can Make a Difference

The laws governing hunting in Michigan are complex and lengthy. Knowing the specific regulations for each animal is challenging. However, that knowledge can mean the difference between a successful and legal hunt or serious criminal charges.

Hunting game out of season carries fines up to $500 combined with a maximum of 90 days in jail. Financial restitution is determined by the number of animals and whether they were antlered and the number of points.  Some offenses carry mandator jail time.

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The consequences do not end there. Hunters could see their hunting privileges revoked for the remainder of a season and beyond. Antlered deer, in particular, could lengthen a suspension with a second offense penalty of several years. Convictions can also lead to a hunter serving jail time and forfeiting their weapon.

Know the law before you go.  If you or a loved one makes a mistake, contact an outdoors law attorney.  Here at the Law Office of John Freeman, we know the outdoors.  And while we will be out in the field this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, there is always someone available to answer your call if you need our help.  Good luck.  Stay safe. And shoot straight.