Michigan – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/21/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.


Is the information easy to find?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources web site was at the top of the list, while this is a portal that leads to a lot of the hunting information, it is not the Michigan Hunting Regulations web site that the search should have returned. The site is very slow to respond at this time, which could be a temporary situation not related to the overall site. Checking back 20 hours later, there does NOT appear to be any issue with response time.

Grade: B

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

Michigan’s DNR web site presents users with a LOT of information, some in immediately useable format, some in PDF files.  One interesting and very useful link on the web site leads to a cooperative venture between the Michigan DNR and Michigan State University, a White-Tailed Deer web site.  All of the information a resident hunter needs to know to plan a deer hunt (and ONLY a deer hunt) is on this site, however nonresident information is limited. With a simple chart, including nonresidents, that one page would be invaluable.

The information is all on one or both of the web sites, but it’s very chaotic, with the cooperative web site being much more user friendly than the Michigan DNR web site, but lacking in some details.

Grade: B

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Michigan holds a lottery for antlerless permits for both residents and nonresidents, however over the counter licenses are available for antlered deer and left over permits after the drawings.  Michigan also holds a $4.00 “Pure Michigan” hunt:

Don’t miss your chance to experience the best of hunting in Michigan! Three lucky hunters will be selected to win THE ULTIMATE PRIZE PACKAGE! Each winner will receive the following licenses: Elk, Bear, Turkey, Antlerless deer and 1st pick at a managed waterfowl area, PLUS the following items donated by the Michigan companies and organizations listed below.

The only issue with this is that nonresidents are prohibited from purchasing an elk permit in Michigan.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident deer tags are $15.00, with an additional archery permit for $15.00, or a combination license for $30.00. Nonresident deer hunting licenses are $138.00, with an option for an archery permit for $138.00 or a combination license for $276.00. While at first it seems like those licenses are priced oddly, they are independent of each other – you may purchase either one or the combination license, if you purchase an archery tag you may:

It is unlawful to purchase more than one archery deer hunting license. This license entitles residents and nonresidents 10 or older to take one antlered or antlerless deer during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 or Dec. 1-Jan. 1 open bow and arrow deer season. Exceptions: See Antler Restriction Regulations.

There is a similar paragraph for the firearm deer tags, however this is where the regulation becomes interesting:

Combination Deer Hunting License

Residents and nonresidents are entitled to purchase only one license with two kill tags (regular and restricted) for use during any the firearm, muzzleloading and archery seasons. These tags are not valid for the early/late antlerless firearm seasons.

A hunter can use both kill tags in the firearm seasons, both in the archery season or one in each season.

So a combination license doubles up your tags and allows you to use them in either or both seasons. The individual licenses are priced slightly higher than similar states for a single deer, and no short term license for deer is available.  There is a $30.00 nonresident three day small game license available.  On the other hand, the simplicity of the system is decent, pay for just the deer permits you plan on using.

Grade: B

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The information is best laid out on the Michigan State University co-op web site.  On the Michigan DNR web site, where a user would expect to find this information is full of special-hunt information, but the basics seem to be absent.

Grade: C

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

In this topic, the over abundance of information on the Michigan DNR “Where to Hunt?”  site works in the favor of new users.  There is an interactive MI-Hunt page as well, though once again I believe this is a case of reinventing the wheel – a simple interface with Bing or Google Maps would have provided hunters with the information needed without having to learn a new interface.

Another nice feature is the interactive map on the State Game and Wildlife Areas page.  The page is quite useful, simply click on the county you are planning to hunt and the page forwards you to the county information. For example Menominee County has no state game lands but it does contain a state forest and state park and recreation area. Counties with Wildlife Management Areas, such as Lapeer  County,  have a link to the area, which then has a link to additional information or regulations.

There is a LOT of information available in these pages, digging it out isn’t hard, but it is a bit chaotic and redundant.

Grade: B

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Despite some dire looking warnings on the White Tail Deer page, such as Chronic Wasting Disease (not found in the wild herd in Michigan), lead poisoning, dioxin, and what looks like a warning but is simply information about lymph nodes and hemal nodes, the only Michigan-specific issue would be the warning about the dioxin, which  has a separate page containing the information hunters need.  The rest of the information is good to read regardless of where you hunt.

Grade: A

Summary: Final Grade B

The web site for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is a bit chaotic, however the information is all there and not terribly hard to access. The cooperative venture between the DNR and Michigan State University is more organized, but there are issues with nonresident information and some inconsistent formats.  Overall, the state has a comparable cost for out of state hunters, with rifle and archery being independent licenses and a combo license available that doubles your deer harvest potential.

States Completed: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisiana, Maine, Maryland


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