Hunting License Structure FAQs

Please note that regulations may change. Updates will be made to these FAQs as they become available. As always, check the latest digests for the species you are hunting for specific information.

How does the new license structure help hunting and trapping in Michigan?
The license-buying process has been simplified while making substantial investment in natural resources. The new structure provides additional revenue for conservation officers, biologists, habitat improvement projects and resource management - boots on the ground and eyes in the field.

Does the new license structure change hunting regulations?
No. Public Act 108 of 2013 affects license structure and fees only; existing hunting and fishing regulations remain in effect unless changed by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC). Refer to the hunting digests for season regulations.

Why do I have to purchase a base license?
The base license provides critical funding for habitat and conservation work on both public and private land. The DNR is committed to delivering the best hunting and trapping opportunities that we can afford with the license revenue that hunters and trappers provide. The funds also support the work of conservation officers and field staff, to ensure safe, legal hunting practices are followed. To learn more about how these funds will be used, see What You Get: More Bang for Your Buck.

The purchase of a base license includes small game hunting. Historically, the state's hunters began their hunting pastimes with small game and then moved to larger species. The inclusion of small game hunting encourages hunters to continue hunting small game and to pass the practice on to future generations. Whether you hunt small game or not, your base license dollars will be used to enhance and expand hunting opportunities, which benefits hunters of all species. A base license is not required to purchase a fishing license.

Who needs to buy a base license?
A base license is needed for any individual who would like to buy a hunting license in Michigan. With the exception of the nonresident 7-day small game license, the base license must be purchased prior to buying any other licenses.

What is included in the base license?
Small game hunting is included in the base license, plus the ability to purchase licenses for other species.

Is a base license required before being able to purchase other licenses? (Is the system ‘smart' enough to know whether or not base has been purchased)?
Yes. The system that processes license sales (in the store and online) has been upgraded to make the base license a requirement before other hunting licenses can be purchased.

What should I do if I misplace my base license?
If you originally purchased your base license at a retail store, you must visit a retail location to obtain a replacement. If you purchase your license online, an email will be sent to you containing a PDF file of your base license. We recommend saving your PDF so it can be reprinted if misplaced. Also, if you purchase your base license online, you will be able to log back in within seven days of your purchase and reprint your license if necessary. If you are beyond seven days or have any questions, please call 517-284-6057.

Does a resident have to buy a base license to hunt small game on their own enclosed farmland where they live?
Yes, a base license is required for a resident, resident's spouse or resident's children to hunt small game on the enclosed farmlands where they live.

Do I need to buy a base license before I can apply for a bear, elk, turkey, or antlerless license?
No. A base license is needed to purchase licenses only.

What deer licenses are available?
A deer license and deer combo license are available. The separate firearm and archery deer licenses have been replaced by the single deer license, valid for all deer seasons except for early and late antlerless seasons. It has a purchase limit of one license. The two-license deer combo includes regular and restricted deer licenses as in past years. To see how the single deer and deer combo licenses may be used in each deer season, based on which DMU you wish to hunt, see the Antler Point Restriction Regulations map and chart on pages 32 and 33 of the 2014 Hunting and Trapping Digest.

Why can't I buy two deer (buck) licenses at different times?
Hunters who want two deer licenses must purchase the deer combo license (or hunt/fish combo license) instead of the single deer license. This is required to implement antler point restrictions (APRs), which apply based on whether the hunter has purchased two deer licenses. In some areas of the state, hunters who buy two deer licenses are subject to antler point restrictions on BOTH licenses. For all hunters who take two antlered deer, one deer must have at least four points on one side.

Can I still take an antlerless deer in archery season with the deer or deer combo license?
Yes. Note, if you take a deer (buck or antlerless) with the single deer license in archery season, you cannot buy another deer license for firearm season. Once a single deer or deer combo license has been purchased, you cannot purchase additional deer licenses other than antlerless licenses, if available.

Has anything changed with antlerless licenses?
No. Antlerless licenses will continue to be available based on license quotas set for each Deer Management Unit (DMU).

What is included in the hunt/fish combo license?
This includes an all-species fishing license, a base license and a deer combo license (regular and restricted licenses).

Do residents pay more for a second deer license than they did for the first deer license? I see that after buying a base license and the first deer license, a non-resident pays more for a second deer license then they did for the first deer license, and a senior also pays more for a second deer license than they did for the first deer license.
No. After buying a base license, residents pay $20 for a single deer license, or $40 for a deer combo license (two licenses).

Are junior licenses available?
Youth 10-16 years old must purchase a junior base license to hunt in Michigan. The junior antlerless deer license will also be available from July 15 to August 15, as in the previous license structure. A 9-year-old must be 10 by Sept. 15 to purchase this license.

Can nonresident youth hunters purchase junior licenses?
Yes, nonresidents ages 10-16 may purchase junior base and junior antlerless deer licenses.

What senior licenses are available?
A senior discount is available for base, deer, fur harvester, fall turkey, spring turkey and hunt/fish combo licenses. Senior pricing applies to Michigan residents only.

What mentored youth licenses are available?
For youth under age 10, a mentored youth license is still available for $7.50. The license includes a base license, a deer license, an all-species fishing license, a spring turkey license, a fall turkey license and a fur harvester's license.

Is the apprentice license still available under the new license structure?
Yes. If you do not meet the requirements to purchase a base license (as defined under PA. 451, Section 324.43520 subsection 2) you may obtain a base apprentice license for the same price as the corresponding regular license.

The apprentice license is designed for anyone 10 years of age and older who has not received a hunter safety certification. Any individual may hunt with an apprentice license for two years. For apprentices between the ages of 10 and 16, the accompanying hunter must be the apprentice's parent, guardian, or someone designated by the parent or guardian.

If I have a base apprentice license, am I eligible to purchase additional licenses so that I can hunt species other than small game?
Yes. A base apprentice license enables you to purchase hunting licenses for other species.

Is a crossbow stamp still required?
No, the crossbow stamp is no longer required to hunt with a crossbow.

The prices of the base hunting license, hunt/fish combo license and all-species fishing license include a new $1 surcharge. How will this money be spent?
Revenue generated from these funds will be used to educate the public on the benefits of hunting, fishing and trapping in Michigan, and the impact of these activities on the conservation, protection, and management of the state's natural resources in accordance with statute.

Do Michigan residents who are active duty military or 100-percent disabled veterans still get free licenses?
Yes. Full-time active duty U.S. military members who enlisted as Michigan residents and have maintained resident status for the purposes of obtaining a driver's license or voting may obtain fishing and hunting licenses (for which a lottery is not required) at no cost. Veterans with 100-percent disability are required to provide proof of eligibility at the time of purchase.

I am a resident and I strictly hunt (not trap) coyotes. I have been able to use a small game license instead of a fur harvester license. Under the new license structure, can I use just a base license?
Yes, under the new license structure, you may hunt coyotes with just a base license. You would not need a fur harvester license unless you plan to trap coyotes.

I don't see a game bird hunting preserve license on the chart, does that mean I no longer need it to hunt at a game bird hunting preserve?
Under the new license structure, a license is not required to hunt farm-raised game birds on a licensed game bird hunting preserve. Hunters who want to take wild game species while hunting on a game bird preserve must have the appropriate hunting licenses, including a federal duck stamp if applicable, and follow state laws governing the hunting of that species.

Do I still need an Area Use Permit to hunt on state-owned Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas?
The state-owned Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas no longer require an area use permit or fee. However, hunters still need a free zone permit, which you can get on-site. A permit may also be required to hunt on other public lands, such as Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.