Home / Featured / Opening Weekend For Squirrels, Rabbits, & Fall Turkey Season Is Here

Opening Weekend For Squirrels, Rabbits, & Fall Turkey Season Is Here

Many of Michigan’s fall hunting seasons begin this month, including small game, fall turkey and youth waterfowl.

Make sure you take advantage of your base license, which is valid for small game hunting in Michigan! Here are some upcoming seasons:

Gray and fox squirrel:

Sept. 15 – March 31

Cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare:

Sept. 15 – March 31

Ruffed grouse:

Sept.15 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1


Sept. 22 – Nov. 5

All woodcock hunters must obtain a free woodcock stamp, which includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP).

Sharp-tailed grouse:

Oct. 10 – 31 in Zone 1*  (*See Hunting Digest for details).

Sharp-tailed grouse requires a free sharp-tailed grouse stamp.

Be sure to check out GEMS locations for great hunting opportunities – visit michigan.gov/gems!

Fall Turkey Digest

Don’t miss out on fall turkey season, Sept. 15 – Nov. 14.

Hunters may purchase one license a day until quotas are met, and may harvest one turkey per license.

Hunters who did not apply for the drawing may purchase a leftover license, if available, beginning Aug. 27.

Learn more at michigan.gov/turkey.



Youth Hunting

  • The Mentored Youth Hunting Program allows youth hunters 9 years of age and younger to hunt with a mentor. The mentored youth license is a “package” license to hunt small game including waterfowl, turkey (spring and fall) and deer, trap furbearers, and fish for all species. See the Hunting Digest for more information.
  • The Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend is Sept. 15-16. The Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend is statewide for properly licensed youth 16 years of age and younger. Ducks, mergansers, geese, coots and moorhens may be harvested. See the Waterfowl Digest for the details.
  • Youth Liberty Hunt will take place on private or public lands statewide in Michigan open to firearm deer hunting Sept. 22-23. Youth 16 years of age or younger may participate in this hunt. During this hunt, a deer or deer combo license may be used for an antlered or antlerless deer. Antler point restrictions do not apply. The bag limit for this season is one deer. All hunters participating in this season must wear hunter orange. See the Hunting Digest for more details.

Deer Hunting

Hunting digestSee the 2018 Hunting Digest for:

  • New chronic wasting disease regulations.
  • New baiting and feeding restrictions.
  • New restrictions on cervid urine-based lures and attractants.

Digests are available at michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

Early antlerless firearm season:

Sept. 22 – 23 in select areas. See michigan.gov/deer for open locations.

Liberty Hunt:

Sept. 22 – 23 (hunters with disabilities and youth – see the Hunting Digest for details).

Independence Hunt:

Oct. 18 – 21 (hunters with disabilities – see the Hunting Digest for details).

Archery season:

Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1

Regular firearm season:

Nov. 15 – 30

Muzzleloader season:

Dec. 7 – 16 (Zones 1 and 2); Dec. 7 – 23 (Zone 3)

Late antlerless firearm season:

Dec. 17 – Jan. 1 in select areas. See michigan.gov/deer for open locations.

antlerless deer digest

Antlerless licenses:

Leftover antlerless deer licenses went on sale Sept. 10. Licenses are sold until the quota is met in each Deer Management Unit. Current leftover license availability may be viewed at michigan.gov/dee

Where to Hunt


Check out Michigan’s grouse enhanced management sites (GEMS) for premier bird hunting locations. Walking trails offer added comfort for those getting out for their first time or those with mobility challenges. GEMS also have parking areas with local area information available. Be sure to check out the local businesses that offer great discounts to hunters who show their base license. Visit michigan.gov/gems for locations.

Severe thunderstorms and wind events that occurred recently have caused many state forest two-tracks and hunter walking trails to be impassable. Two GEMS locations hit especially hard were the Mark Knee Memorial and Lame Duck. We are working hard to remedy the situation, and your patience is appreciated.


No matter where you are in Michigan, you can find public hunting land. The Mi-HUNT interactive map application now works on mobile devices, contains the most up-to-date information to help you plan your next hunting trip, and includes both public hunting land and private land open to the public for hunting.

Hunting Access Program

Private lands are open to public hunting through the Hunting Access Program. The DNR leases lands from private landowners to provide additional hunting areas for hunters living in, or near, areas of high urban development and limited public land.

Get Started

Find all the latest details, updates and regulations and buy your licenses so you’ll have everything you need to get started this fall!

Mi.gov/hunting ►

Buy your license ►

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453 (517-284-WILD).

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