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Firearms and Bows
Statewide handgun regulations
The rules listed below may not apply to those having a concealed pistol license (CPL) or those specifically exempt by law from a CPL and carrying their handgun in accordance with their license or exemption.
- You must be at least 18 years of age to hunt with (possess) a handgun.
- Handguns cannot be borrowed or loaned to another person other than provided for under the CPL.
- While in the field, handguns must be carried in plain view. Carrying a handgun in a holster in plain view is permitted.
- You may transport your registered handguns while en route to and from your hunting or target shooting area; however, handguns, including BB guns larger than .177 caliber and all pellet guns, must be unloaded and in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms and cannot be readily accessible to any occupant of the vehicle.
- It is a crime for certain felons to possess firearms, including rifles and shotguns, in Michigan.
- Nonresidents must have a CPL or a license to purchase, carry or transport, issued by their home state and in their possession, in order to legally carry or transport a handgun in Michigan.
For more information regarding statewide handgun regulations, obtaining a CPL, or concealed weapons and firearms laws, contact your local police department or view the Michigan State Police firearms webpage.
Transporting firearms, crossbows, bow and arrows
These rules apply whether your vehicle is parked, stopped, moving or is on private or public property. Firearms must be unloaded in the barrel, and all arrows must be in a quiver when a hunter is afield outside the legal hunting hours.
These rules may not apply to a pistol carried under authority of a CPL or properly carried under authority of a specific exception from the requirement of a concealed pistol license.
Motor vehicles (including snowmobiles)
At all times:
- Rifles, shotguns, muzzleloading and other firearms must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine and enclosed in a case or carried in the trunk of a vehicle.
- Crossbows, slingshots, and bows and arrows must be enclosed in a case or unstrung or carried in the trunk of a vehicle.
Off road vehicle (ORV)
At all times:
- Rifles, shotguns, muzzleloading and other firearms must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine and enclosed in a case or equipped with and made inoperative by a manufactured keylocked trigger-housing mechanism.
- Crossbows, slingshots, and bows and arrows must be enclosed in a case or unstrung.
Boat or sailboat
At all times:
- Rifles, shotguns, muzzleloading and other firearms must be unloaded in both barrel and magazine.
- Firearms may not be loaded.
- Exception: See the Waterfowl Hunting Digest, under the Joint State-Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations section.
- A percussion cap muzzleloading longarm is considered unloaded if the percussion cap is removed.
- A flintlock muzzleloading longarm is considered unloaded if the cock is left down and the pan is open.
- Black powder handguns must be transported as stated above.
- A muzzleloading firearm that has an electric ignition system is considered unloaded if the battery is removed.
Safety zones around buidlings
You may hunt with a firearm within 450 feet of an occupied building, dwelling, house, residence or cabin, or any barn or other building used in connection with a farm operation, without obtaining the written permission of the owner, renter or occupant of the property. The safety zone applies to hunting only. It does not apply to indoor or outdoor shooting ranges, target shooting, law enforcement activities, or the discharge of firearms for any non-hunting purpose.