What Can You Hunt Year-Round in Michigan?

What Can You Hunt Year-Round in Michigan?

From the expansive forests to the rolling hills, Michigan has some of the best hunting grounds where hunters can find a wide variety of game to pursue. Conservation and wildlife management in Michigan is made possible by educated hunters. Adherence to the Michigan hunting laws is essential to preserving Michigan’s unique ecosystem and contributing to a successful and safe hunting experience. Policing these activities is the responsibility of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Reviewing the “Hunting Digest” that the DNR produces annually is a great way to help you understand the laws and regulations for the area and game you are hunting. At the Law Office of John Freedman, we know how important it is to be prepared for your upcoming hunting experience. Seeking legal advice in the unfortunate event that you find yourself being charged with a hunting-related offense is in your best interests. Our Michigan gun lawyers know what it takes to win these cases and are prepared to defend DNR cases and help you obtain a favorable outcome.

Animals that Can be Hunted Year-Round in Michigan

Hunting small game for food or sport is a popular pastime in the state. Although many game animals have limited seasons in the state, hunters can legally hunt several types of small game year-round. With a valid Michigan hunting license, you can harvest coyotes, opossums, woodchucks, raccoons, skunks, weasels, red squirrels, porcupines, and feral swine. 

Here’s a closer look at the wildlife that may be legally hunted throughout the year:


Amid complaints about this adaptable predator being too numerous and venturing into residential areas, the Natural Resources Commission approved expanding the coyote hunting season in April 2016. Residents of Michigan must have a valid base license to hunt coyotes, while non-residents must have a valid base license and a fur harvester license. It is legal for property owners and their designees to capture coyotes on their property without obtaining a written permit or license if they damage or are about to damage their property. 


Another small game species that can be hunted year-round are groundhogs or woodchucks. From April 1st to mid-September, all state parks and recreation areas are closed to hunting due to the tourism season. 


Opossums are commonly known to be pests, and while people may not hunt them for meat or sport, you are welcome to actively hunt these animals if they are rummaging through your trash. Between mid-September and the end of March, night hunting is allowed only with dogs. 


The skunk is still a part of Michigan’s fur trade, meaning you can kill them year-round. Although these animals may be hunted throughout the year, it is important to remember that you may not do so from April 1st to mid-September in state parks. Trappers should be aware that bringing a live skunk into Michigan is illegal.


Weasels are known for killing chickens, ducks, and other small livestock. Like other animals on the list, weasels are considered pests, and hunting them is legal throughout the year. 


Property owners may legally kill raccoons without a license or written permission when raccoons are damaging private property. Before you hunt any animal, it is imperative that you do your due diligence and check up with the Michigan DNR to make sure you are doing so lawfully. 

Acquiring Proper Permits and Documentation

Hunting any game animal in Michigan requires a hunting license. Depending upon the game to be hunted, there are different types of hunting licenses available. To hunt other game types, you must purchase the appropriate license type. Regardless of age, residents and non-residents who hunt within the state must purchase and carry a valid hunting license. 

What is a Base License?

An annual base license is required for anyone who hunts in Michigan and permits hunters to take small game animals. All hunters must obtain a base license before purchasing other licenses. To purchase a hunting license, hunters born after January 1st, 1960, must present their previous hunting license or hunter safety certificate. The hunter education online course is offered year-round and can be found at  Michigan.gov/HunterEducation.

Steps on How to Apply for These Permits 

Depending on your age, in order to legally buy a license or permit to hunt, you must first complete the Michigan hunter education certification requirements. The next step is choosing the correct license type. Once you’ve chosen the correct license type, you can buy the license through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website or a Michigan-approved vendor. For a list of license agents, visit Michigan.gov/DNRLicenseAgents. ​​To purchase certain hunting licenses, hunters must possess qualifying credentials and/or identification.

Adult resident hunters and fur harvesters must meet the following criteria to qualify for a license:

  • Have a permanent home within the state boundaries with the intention of remaining in the state
  • Attend a college or university in Michigan full-time and reside there during the school year.  
  • Be a full-time member of the U.S. military, be stationed in Michigan, and maintain residency in Michigan. 

It is essential to carry your license when hunting and trapping and present it upon demand of a Michigan conservation officer, a tribal conversation officer, or any law enforcement officer. 

Importance of Documentation for Legal Purposes 

The purpose behind hunting licenses is for the regulation of our natural resources and legal protection. Hunting licenses are considered a privilege, and before engaging in any outdoor activity, hunters must obtain all required and necessary licenses, permits, and tags. 

You should also be sure to research what is needed, including Hunter Safety course requirements. In the event of an accident or if you ever find yourself in a legal dispute related to hunting, the proper documentation can serve as evidence in your favor, proving that you complied with the law at the time.

In A Dispute About Your Hunting Rights?

Hunters must familiarize themselves with Michigan DNR hunting rules and regulations to ensure they remain compliant with the law and promote wildlife conservation. With these guidelines in mind, hunters can have a safe and enjoyable hunting experience while respecting Michigan wildlife and conservation efforts.

Should your license be in jeopardy, you should first consult an experienced hunting violation attorney. At the Law Office of John Freeman, we understand the penalties for hunting violations and will fight to ensure the best possible resolution in your case. Contact us by calling 248-665-8454 or reaching out online.