Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Firearm season started Nov. 15 and runs through Nov. 30, but there are additional hunting dates and new reporting guidelines to know before you head into the woods.

MICHIGAN—If you hunt deer in Michigan, you know that firearm season runs from Nov. 15-30 this year. But if you’re new to the sport or you’re a hiker looking to stay one step ahead of hunters, you’re in the right place. There are more hunts scheduled before the year’s end, and there’s a new reporting requirement to know about—so read on.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Resources (DNR) made one major change in reporting since last year—hunters must report all successful deer harvests within 72 hours or before handing possession over for processing. 

Remaining Michigan Deer Hunts in 2022

In addition to the current firearm season that runs from Nov. 15-30, Michigan deer hunters have three more opportunities to harvest a buck or doe before the end of the year. Here are the dates and general information for each remaining hunt. 

Late Archery Season, Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2023

While Michigan’s early archery season wrapped up in mid-November, late archery season runs through the first of next year.

While there are a few differences between the seasons, the main one is that weapons regulations differ between the Upper and Lower Peninsula.

Hunters in the U.P. cannot use a crossbow or modified bow during the late archery hunt unless they are disabled with a special permit. The exception to this rule is the chronic wasting disease surveillance area, where crossbows are allowed (to find the CWD surveillance area, see page 58 of this guidebook).

In the Lower Peninsula, any licensed hunter can use a crossbow through the entire late archery season. Additionally, Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties have extended archery season until Jan. 31 to manage the deer population. 

Remember, all arrows must be in a quiver outside of daily hunting hours, even while afield.

Statewide Muzzleloader Season, Dec. 2-11

According to the 2022 Michigan Hunting Digest published by the Department of Natural Resources, hunters with muzzleloaders during this season may only possess or take a deer with a crossbow, muzzleloading rifle, muzzleloading shotgun, or a black-powder pistol.

The same rules about crossbows from the late archery deer hunt apply to the muzzleloader hunt—only disabled and certified hunters can use a crossbow or a modified bow in the U.P., except in the core CWD surveillance area. 

Late Antlerless Firearm Hunt, Dec. 12-Jan. 1, 2023

The biggest difference between the current firearm deer season and the December hunt is the land where deer hunting is permitted. In the Lower Peninsula, hunters may only harvest deer on private land. The U.P. does not allow hunting during the late antlerless firearm season. 

Michigan Deer Hunting Licenses

All deer hunters in Michigan need to buy one of three types of basic deer hunting licenses. The type you buy depends on how many kill tags you want, and whether you want to harvest antlered or antlerless deer.

Single Deer License

A single deer license is for residents and non-residents of Michigan who want to harvest one deer on public or private lands. Hunters can use their kill tag to harvest an antlered or antlerless deer in the Lower Peninsula, or an antlerless deer during the archery season in specific deer management units (DMUs) in the Upper Peninsula. This license also allows hunters to harvest antlerless deer during the antlerless firearm season, but they’re limited to buying one single deer license. 

Deer Combo License

Resident and non-resident Michigan hunters can purchase one deer combo license that comes with two kill tags—regular and restricted—to use on public and private lands. The same rules apply as the single licenses, but you get one more tag. Hunters can use both kill tags in firearm seasons, both in archery seasons, or a tag in each season. Keep in mind that there is a statewide limit of two antlered deer, except in DMU 117 (Drummond Island), where hunters may only harvest one antlered deer. 

Universal Antlerless Deer License

Michigan’s universal antlerless deer license permits residents and non-residents to harvest an antlerless deer on public or private land during all hunting seasons, as long as the DMU is open. You may purchase up to 10 universal antlerless deer licenses as long as they are available. In fact, you might already have one if you joined the lottery earlier in the year. The DNR sells leftover permits on a first-come, first-served basis. Many are sold out, but you can see where they’re still available here

Reporting Your Harvested Deer in Michigan

In past years, the Michigan DNR sent out post-season harvest surveys to hunters. Response rates have decreased over the years making it difficult for the DNR to manage the state’s deer herd. This year and going forward, the DNR requires all hunters to report kills within 72 hours. The DNR wants to know where you killed your deer, what kind you killed, how many antlers and points, if applicable, it has, and what weapon you used for your kill. You can report your kill online at the DNR website or download their app for your smartphone.