What are Michigan’s hunting trespassing laws?

What are Michigan’s hunting trespassing laws?

 trespass - Law Office of John Freeman

Hunting takes you to some of Michigan’s most scenic areas. But there are limits on where you can hunt. Trespassing is among Michigan’s hunting and fishing violations and violations can restrict many of your hunting rights.

Hunting Violations and Consequences

It’s vital to know and abide by the state’s hunting laws to prevent violations and the hefty penalties that come with them. In Michigan, hunting violations can range from minor slip-ups to severe offenses, and the repercussions for these offenses can be quite harsh.

Common violations include hunting without a license, hunting outside of the designated season, trespassing on private property to hunt, and using improper equipment for hunting. The consequences for these violations can include financial penalties, license suspension or revocation, and even time behind bars.

Michigan doesn’t take violations of hunting laws lightly, and the consequences for repeat offenses can be extremely severe. If a hunter racks up multiple violations, they can expect higher fines and penalties, and they may even have their hunting privileges permanently taken away.

Private trespassing

A hunter must receive written or verbal consent from the owner or leaseholder before hunting on farmland, connected woodlands, any posted private land or on any fenced or enclosed property. Hunters are required to show their hunting license to landowners upon their request.

You must receive the landowner’s permission before tracking an animal that you wounded if it runs or flies onto their property. But a person without a firearm may walk or run onto a person’s property only for retrieving their hunting dog unless the property owner previously objected. That hunter may not stay on that property past the reasonable time needed to retrieve their dog.

Building safety zones  

It is illegal to hunt with a firearm within 450 feet of an occupied building, dwelling, house, residence, cabin, barn or another building used for operating a farm without receiving the written permission of the property’s owner, renter or occupant.

Safety zones only involve these structures. These zones do not govern indoor or outdoor shooting ranges, target shooting, law enforcement activities or the legal discharge of firearms for a non-hunting purpose.

Road or railroad rights-of-way

Hunters may hunt and trap within a road right-of-way if the adjacent property is publicly owned. The landowner must give permission if this property is privately owned.

A railroad right-of-way is also private property. Trespassing on railroad property is a misdemeanor criminal offense unless you received written permission from the railroad company.

Float hunting

Landowners and their invited guests have exclusive rights to hunting and trapping bordering waterways. The landowner must give permission before a person engages in float hunting or setting traps along the waterways protected by the recreational trespass law. But float hunting and trapping are permitted on and along waterways surrounded by public land and open to hunting.


There are townships or parts of townships in counties closed to hunting or restricted to firearms or types of firearms. Restrictions are posted in these townships which include Alcona, Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Crawford, Dickinson, Eaton, Emmet, Genesee, Iosco, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Livingston, Macomb, Mackinac, Manistee, Oakland, Otsego, Ottawa, Presque Isle, Saginaw, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne townships.

National forests

Michigan laws governs hunting on national forest lands. But there are additional federal regulations governing these activities in these areas.

Violating these laws carries serious penalties and may affect your rights to hunt, fish or carry a firearm. An attorney can help assure that your rights are protected.

Substance Restrictions and Accident Prevention

Michigan has a firm stance on substance use while hunting. For their safety and the safety of others, hunters are not allowed to hunt under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance that could impair their judgment or coordination.

In addition to substance use restrictions, hunters should be mindful of the potential risks of hunting accidents. Even seasoned hunters can find themselves in dangerous situations, which can lead to severe injuries or even fatal accidents. By wearing the proper safety gear and adhering to all hunting regulations, hunters can reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring.

For a safe and successful hunting experience, it’s essential for hunters to abide by Michigan’s hunting regulations and safety guidelines. In doing so, they can enjoy the beauty of nature while safeguarding themselves and the state’s diverse game species.

Consult With A Criminal Defense Lawyer On Any Hunting Violations

If you are hit with trespassing or gun charges while hunting, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Trespassing and hunting laws in Michigan can be severe, and you shouldn’t go at this alone. We are here to help and protect your rights.