Deer and bear often draw attention this time of year, but there are many more hunting opportunities during the fall in Michigan.
Hunters can also enjoy small game hunting statewide with their basic licenses and includes cottontails and snowshoe hares, fox and gray squirrels, grouse, woodcock and pheasant.
COTTONTAIL RABBIT AND SNOWSHOE HARARE
Cottontail and snowshoe hare hunting seasons are open statewide from September 15 through March 31. The daily hunt limit is five and the possession limit is 10.
SQUIRREL, FOX AND GRAY
Fox and gray squirrel season (including the black phase) is open statewide from September 15 through March 31. The daily bag limit is five and the possession limit is 10.
Grouse grouse season dates, statewide, are September 15-November 14 and December 1-January 1. In Zones 1 and 2, the daily bag limit is five and the possession limit is 10. In Zone 3, the daily bag limit is three and the possession limit is six.
THE WOODCOCK SEASON BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER. fifteen
Woodcock season now runs from September 15 through October 29 statewide. The daily bag limit is three and the possession limit is nine.
All woodcock hunters must have a valid base license and free woodcock stamp. The woodcock stamp includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Collection Information Program. Shotguns must be covered so that they cannot contain more than three cartridges.
GEMAS A GOOD PLACE FOR HUNTING GROWERS AND GALLLES
If grouse or woodcock hunting is your niche, the DNR said using an improved grouse management site is a good idea.
There are six GEMS in the northern Lower Peninsula and 13 sites in the Upper Peninsula. These sites are managed specifically for grouse and woodcock habitats, optimizing the chances of a successful bird season. They also include clipped walking trails, abundant young forest cover, and open parking areas with trail maps.
Each site offers a unique hunting trip and hundreds of acres of publicly accessible land. Eighteen sites are equipped with a map, information kiosk, and hunter walking trails. If you’re looking for a more remote off-trail experience, check out Norwich GEMS, located in the Ottawa National Forest.
Find GEMS AND additional public hunting grounds on the DNR’s “Where to Hunt” web page.
PHEASANT HUNTING, LICENSE REQUIREMENTS AND RELEASE INFORMATION
Pheasant seasons (males only) will begin in October. The daily bag limit is two and the possession limit is four.
• Zone 1 (Upper Peninsula): from October 10 to 31. See the Game Compendium for Zone 1 pheasant management unit boundaries.
• Zone 2 and Zone 3 (Lower Peninsula): from October 20 to November 14.
• Zone 3 (south of M-20/US-10 and east of US-131, including all of the Thumb, in the Lower Peninsula): December 1 to January 1. Consult the Hunting Digest for the Zone 3 boundary pheasant management unit.
A $25 license is required for all hunters over the age of 18 to hunt pheasant on any public land in the Lower Peninsula or on land enrolled in the Game Access Program.
You do not need a pheasant hunting license if you are: a pheasant hunter on private land; hunting on public lands in the Upper Peninsula; holder of a lifetime license; 17 years old or younger; and only hunt pheasants in a game bird hunting reserve.
As a reminder, the new law, Public Law 262 of 2020, which requires the pheasant hunting license on public lands, has an expiration date of January 1, 2026.
Money from the new license will be placed in an account to be used for the purchase and release of live pheasants on state public lands with suitable pheasant habitat. Releases generally take place during the regular pheasant season, which runs from mid-October to mid-November.
Details and locations for the 2022 pheasant release program will be available at michigan.gov/smallgame in the coming weeks. Similar launch locations to last year are expected.