Please click on the following links to read more about the following topics:
UP and DMU 487 Buck Hunting Restrictions
Hunting and Trapping Rifle/Shotgun Zones
Firearm, Crossbow and Bow and Arrow Rules
Archery Deer Seasons
Firearm Deer Season
Muzzleloading Deer Seasons
All Firearm Deer Seasons - Rifle Zone
All Firearm Deer Seasons - Shotgun Zone
Transporting - Carrying Firearms and Bows and Arrows
Safety Zones Around Buildings
Regulations for Bringing in Harvested Animals from Other States and Canada
Buck hunting regulations in the U.P. and DMU 487 depend upon the type of license purchased. Combination license holders have antler point restrictions for both licenses. To take an antlered deer with the regular combination license the deer must have at least one antler with 3 or more antler points. When using a restricted combination license the deer must have at least one antler with 4 or more antler points. Antler points must be one inch in length. Hunters possessing both a firearm and archery deer license are limited to taking only 1 antlered animal, all seasons combined.
The rules listed below may not apply to a person having a concealed pistol license or a person specifically exempt by law from a concealed pistol license and who carries their handgun in accordance with their license or exemption.
Shell Capacity for Shotguns and Centerfire Rifles
It is unlawful to hunt with a semi-automatic shotgun or semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than six shells in the barrel and magazine combined unless it is a .22 caliber rimfire. Fully automatic firearms are illegal. All shotguns used for migratory game birds (including woodcock) must be plugged so the total capacity of the shotgun does not exceed three shells.
Crossbows are legal to use:
- during all archery and firearm seasons statewide, except in the Upper Peninsula where crossbow use will remain prohibited during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons, unless the hunter is disabled.
- by anyone 10 years of age or older.
Hunters must be at least 10 years of age to use a crossbow. Crossbows used for hunting are no longer restricted to a maximum bolt velocity.
A free crossbow stamp, available from all license agents or online here, is required in addition to a valid hunting license for those using a crossbow to hunt. Crossbow hunters are required to wear hunter orange while hunting deer during the early antlerless, youth firearm, and the November firearm deer seasons.
During the archery deer seasons, it is illegal to carry afield a pistol, revolver or other firearm while bow hunting for deer.
Exceptions: This prohibition does not apply to pistols carried under authority of a concealed pistol license or properly carried under authority of a specific exception from the requirement of a concealed pistol license. However, a concealed pistol license does not authorize the individual to use the pistol to take game except as provided by law.
It is illegal for a person taking or attempting to take game to carry or possess afield a centerfire or muzzleloading rifle, a bow and arrow, a centerfire or black powder handgun, or a shotgun with buckshot, slug or ball loads or cut shells, unless you have in your possession a current firearm deer, combination deer or antlerless deer license for the appropriate DMU, with an unused kill tag issued in your name, or a current firearm deer, combination deer or antlerless deer license for the appropriate DMU issued in your name with an unused deer management assistance permit (DMA) kill tag or an unused managed deer hunting permit.
During the December muzzleloading seasons, muzzleloading deer hunters can carry afield and use only a muzzleloading rifle, a muzzleloading shotgun, or a black powder handgun loaded with black powder or a commercially manufactured black powder substitute.
In the rifle zone, deer may be taken with handguns, rifles, bows and arrows, shotguns and muzzleloading firearms including black powder handguns. It is legal to hunt deer in the rifle zone with any caliber of firearm except a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire (rifle or handgun). During the firearm deer seasons, a firearm deer hunter may carry afield a bow and arrow and firearm as well as a crossbow.
Exception: See Muzzleloading Deer Seasons above for restrictions during this season.
In the shotgun zone, all hunters afield from November 15-30, and all deer hunters in this zone during other deer seasons, must abide by the following firearm restrictions or use a bow and arrow. Crossbows are legal to use by a person 10 years of age or older during the Nov. 15-30 firearm deer season. Legal firearms are as follows:
- A shotgun may have a smooth or rifled barrel and may be of any gauge.
- A muzzleloading rifle or black powder handgun must be loaded with black powder or a commercially manufactured black powder substitute.
- A conventional (smokeless powder) handgun must be .35 caliber or larger and loaded with straight-walled cartridges and may be single- or multiple-shot but cannot exceed a maximum capacity of nine rounds in the barrel and magazine combined.
Exception: See Muzzleloading Deer Seasons above for restrictions during this season. From Nov. 15-30, .22 caliber or smaller rimfire rifles and handguns may be used to kill raccoon while hunting raccoons with dogs between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
At all times, rifles, shotguns, muzzleloading and other firearms, crossbows and bows and arrows carried in or on any type of motor vehicle, including snowmobiles, must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine, and either enclosed in a case, or unstrung, or carried in the trunk of a vehicle with a trunk, or when transported on an ORV equipped with and made inoperative by a manufactured keylocked trigger housing mechanism. These rules apply whether your vehicle is parked, stopped, moving or is on private or public property. A firearm transported in a motor-propelled boat or sailboat must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine when the motor is operating or the boat is under sail and may not be loaded until the momentum of the boat has ceased. Firearms must be unloaded in the barrel, and all arrows must be in a quiver when a hunter is afield outside the legal hunting hours.
Exception: These rules do not apply to pistols carried under authority of a concealed pistol license or properly carried under authority of a specific exception from the requirement of a concealed pistol license.
Safety zones are all areas within 150 yards (450 feet) of an occupied building, house, cabin, or any barn or other building used in a farm operation. No person, including archery and crossbow hunters, may hunt or discharge a firearm, crossbow or bow in a safety zone, or shoot at any wild animal or wild bird within a safety zone, without the written permission of the owner or occupant of such safety zone. The safety zone applies to hunting only. It does not apply to indoor or outdoor shooting ranges, target shooting, law enforcement activities or the discharge of firearms, crossbows or bows for any non-hunting purpose.
Due to changes (dated 08/08/03) in USDA regulations concerning the importation of ruminant carcasses from Canada, there has been some confusion as to what a hunter can bring into Michigan from other states and provinces. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are 2 distinct sets of regulations set by 2 different agencies applying to 2 different diseases.
As a precaution to prevent bringing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into Michigan, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) passed a Wildlife Conservation Order in which limited the parts of free-ranging elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer that can be imported from states and provinces that have CWD in their free-ranging deer or elk. These restrictions are published in the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide, and limit hunters to bringing only:
- De-boned meat
- Antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue
- Hides cleaned of excess tissue or blood
- Upper canine teeth
- Finished taxidermist mount
- From these places: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, New York, Alberta, or Saskatchewan. Though USDA has overturned its ban on wild ruminant meat imports, the NRC order still requires that any meat that comes from a state or province where free-ranging deer or elk with a CWD have been found must be de-boned with any excess tissue or blood removed.
If you are notified by another state or province that a deer or elk you brought into Michigan tested positive for CWD, you must contact the DNR Wildlife Disease lab within two business days (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at (517) 336-5030 and provide all information requested by the Lab.
- Any changes to importation regulations will be posted at the State's emerging diseases website.
- Although there is no evidence that CWD affects humans, the DNR advises hunters who take deer originating from states or provinces where CWD has been found, to take these precautions:
- Minimize handling brain or spinal cord tissues.
- Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes of harvested animals.
- Also, click here for more Wild game processing suggestions.
As a precaution to prevent bringing Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE; sometimes called "Mad Cow Disease") into the United States from Canada, the U. S. Department of Agriculture banned importation of all meat from ruminant animals from Canada. In addition to domestic animals, that ban also applied to free-ranging deer, elk, moose, caribou, bison, musk oxen, sheep, and mountain goats. But as of August 8, 2003, the USDA changed their regulations, and now allows hunters to import some parts of wild ruminant carcasses from Canada into the U.S. A special permit will be required from hunters at the Canadian border, and hunters should consult USDA for the latest information. In the case of hunters wishing to bring deer or elk carcasses or parts back to Michigan from Saskatchewan, both the NRC and the USDA regulations would apply. However, because the NRC regulations are more strict, they would take precedence.
Questions regarding the Michigan NRC restrictions for CWD should be directed to the MDNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at (517) 336-5030. Questions regarding the USDA restrictions for BSE should be directed to USDA/APHIS-Veterinary Services (301) 734-3277. For more information, visit the USDA website.