Michigan Hunting and Trapping Regulation Updates to Align with License Restructuring

In September 2013, Rick Snyder signed Public Act 108 (HB 4668), which authorized a new structure for hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses. The revised structure is intended to simplify the licensing system while providing funding to improve hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities, provide greater access to world-class recreational opportunities, improve wildlife habitat, and increase education and outreach.
In order to implement the new structure, the DNR must update relevant parts of the Wildlife Conservation Order through amendments to over 30 sections that refer to hunting or trapping licenses. Through these amendments, the DNR is not recommending any new regulation changes. The DNR is simply making the appropriate technical changes necessary to implement the new license structure. Any changes that may impact the wildlife management or other changes in regulation deemed necessary will be introduced separately later in the year
The DNR’s brief summary of amendments to align with the new license structure is as follows and is eligible for approval at the next NRC meeting, February 13 in Lansing but would not go into effect until the new license year begins on March 1, 2014.
Base License: In order to purchase any other hunting license, an individual must first purchase a base license. The newly created base license will provide critical funding for habitat and conservation work on both public and private land. The base license includes the opportunity to hunt small game and is not required to purchase a fishing license.
According to the DNR, multiple sections of the order need to be updated to eliminate references to the small game license and to ensure that species sections, where appropriate, reflect the need to purchase a base license prior to purchasing a hunting or trapping license.
Mentored youth license program: The mentored youth license program will include base license privileges, but the new structure will only include one deer tag, rather than two as currently offered.
Pure Michigan Hunt: Since hunters must now hold a base license to legally purchase a license and hunt any species, the Pure Michigan Hunt winners should now also receive a base license.
Deer Licenses: The firearm deer license and bow and arrow deer license no longer exist under the new structure.
All references to these licenses have been eliminated. Deer licenses will now include:
  • Antlerless Deer License
  • Deer License
  • Deer Combination Regular
  • Deer Combination Restricted
Hunters who have purchased a base license may choose to purchase a single deer license or a two-license deer combination package including a regular and restricted tag, and you must decide at the point of sale (you cannot buy a single deer license and decide later you want to "upgrade" to the combination). The new Hunt/Fish combination will become available March 1 and will include a base license, all-species fishing license, and both a regular and restricted deer license. All antler point restrictions that currently exist have been applied to the new license structure. Regulations will remain in place to allow the take of an antlerless deer with bow and arrow or crossbow using any deer license during archery only deer seasons (Oct 1-Nov 14 and Dec 1-Jan. 1) and during firearm and muzzleloading seasons in Deer Management Unit 487.
Application Fees: Under 2013 PA 108, all application fees were increased from $4.00 to $5.00.
Nonresident Furbearer: Under the new structure, a nonresident fur harvester's license is not valid for the hunting or trapping of fur-bearing species which have a bag limit. Nonresidents will not be able to trap badger, otter, bobcat, fisher, and marten. In addition, the free kill tags for otter, bobcat, fisher, and marten will now only be available to residents. The fur harvester will still need to be at least eight years old to obtain the free kill tags, but this provision is now clarified under the mentored youth license program in order to align with the new base license statutory requirement.
Managed Waterfowl Areas: The annual and daily managed waterfowl area permits are no longer available to purchase due to the new structure. However, the managed waterfowl areas will continue to be posted and restricted as hunting by permit only. Hunters will need to obtain a free permit on-site before hunting the area.

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