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Deer

Intro

Intro

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Deer hunting and Michigan go hand and hand. For good reason, Michigan has a lifetime of opportunities and landscapes to explore. With 8 million acres of public hunting land stretching from the rugged Porcupine Mountains of the Upper Peninsula to river-bottom state game areas in Michigan's southern farmlands, the spot you have been looking for is waiting.

State Recreation Areas and Game Areas

The following state recreation areas and state game areas are suggested locations for prime hunting opportunities:

Allegan State Game Area

Allegan County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

Allegan State Game Area is vast – spanning over 50,000 acres – and is made up of mature forest, oak savanna, wetland, riparian (areas adjacent to bodies of water) and grassland habitat. It is home to a variety of wildlife species, including deer, ring-necked pheasants and turkey. Keeping these grasslands healthy and thriving is one of the DNR’s major management goals at the game area. During the past eight years, DNR staff and partners have enhanced and restored nearly 1,300 acres of grassland habitat and 150 acres of wetland habitat. Additionally, over 2,000 acres of food plots have been planted to provide fall and winter food sources for waterfowl, pheasants, deer and turkeys.

Allegan State Game Area

Barry State Game Area

Barry County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

The Barry State Game Area is just over 16,600 acres dominated by oak and mixed forest and also includes wetlands, lakes, and grasslands. It contains a number of maintained food plots and forest openings used by turkey, rabbits and deer.

Barry State Game Area

Boyle Lake State Game Area

Berrien County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

Boyle Lake State Game Area is a small area (about 400 acres) that offers big hunting opportunities. The area consists of a lake located in the center surrounded by a diverse complex of woodlands featuring northern hardwoods, lowland, oak and mixed deciduous forest. This area doesn’t have on-site facilities, but it does offer convenient parking for users.

Boyle Lake State Game Area

Coldwater Lake State Park

Branch County - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

The 400-acre Coldwater Lake State Park is located approximately 6 miles north of the Indiana state border. It is the only public hunting area in the county providing opportunities for hunting of small game, deer, turkey and waterfowl. Wetlands make up over 120 acres of the park area. The emergent and forested/shrub wetlands provide habitat for a diversity of native plant and animal species. Two small, unpaved parking areas offer walk-in access for hunters and anglers.

Coldwater Lake State Park

Crane Pond State Game Area

Cass County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

Crane Pond State Game Area consists of over 4,000 acres of a diverse mixture of cover types from upland mixed deciduous forests, lowland hardwoods, wetlands and prairie restoration areas. The topography is rolling in nature with mesic, sandy loam soils, a 150-acre prairie unit, as well as many forest openings.

Crane Pond State Game Area

Fort Custer Recreation Area

Kalamazoo County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

Fort Custer Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre area located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The recreation area offers turkey, deer, squirrel and rabbit. The area features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River, a campground, more than 25 miles of multi-use trails, fishing opportunities, second-growth forests and remnant areas of prairie.

Fort Custer Recreation Area

Holly Recreation Area

Oakland County - Spring Turkey Unit ZC

At 8,008 acres of rolling woodlands and open fields, the Holly Recreation Area provides some elbow room. Almost all of the area is open to public hunting. The recreation area is located between Pontiac and Flint. It is home to three lakes, a campground and a boat launch. Most of this area’s rolling woodlands and open fields are open to hunting deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel. Several thousand acres of land at the area are maintained by the DNR for wildlife habitat development and restoration.

Holly Recreation Area

Lake Hudson Recreation Area

Lenawee County - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

Lake Hudson Recreation Area, 2,796 acres, is located in southern Michigan near the Ohio border. This area offers opportunities for deer, turkey, upland game and waterfowl hunting. Over the last several years, pheasant habitat improvement projects have created quality grassland habitat to improve hunting opportunities and increase wildlife populations.

Lake Hudson Recreation Area

Lost Nation State Game Area

Hillsdale County - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

The 2,471 acres at Lost Nation State Game Area allows hunters to use a "run and gun" technique. Due to the large footprint of public land, hunters can move around to chase gobblers without worrying about crossing onto private land. The landscape is rolling topography with hardwood woodlots, pocket wetlands and fens, and food plots with clover and small grains where turkeys are known to gather. The hiking trails off the parking lots allow egress farther into the property.

This state game area includes a non-staffed DNR shooting range.

Lost Nation State Game Area

Pinckney Recreation Area

Livingston and Washtenaw Counties - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

Pinckney Recreation Area is approximately 11,000 acres and located north of I-94 between Ann Arbor and Jackson. The terrain is a mixture of open brush land to mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open meadows mixed in with several large areas of wetland habitat. Most of the recreation area is open to hunting according to the various seasons, except for safety zones around the developed day-use areas, campgrounds and office areas. Target shooting is prohibited.

Pinckney Recreation Area

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

Oakland County - Spring Turkey Unit ZC

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area is approximately 3,745 acres and it is located northwest of Pontiac. It has a mixture of marshes, ponds, heavy forests, old farm fields, river bottom and lakes that support a variety of animals and excellent hunting. Turkey, rabbits, squirrel, grouse, woodcock, ducks, geese, raccoon and deer may be hunted at the recreation area during their respective seasons.

Additionally, with the DNR-staffed Pontiac Lake shooting range located within this game area.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

Seven Lakes State Park

Oakland County - Spring Tureky Unit ZC

Seven Lakes State Park, 230 acres, is located near Holly in the far northwest corner of Oakland County. The park is an endless variety of topography and ecosystems that form the area called Seven Lakes and is a combination of farmland, rolling hills and forests. Most areas of the park are open to hunting and species include deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit and squirrel.

Seven Lakes State Park

Sharonville State Game Area

Jackson and Washtenaw Counties - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

The 4,387-acre landscape at Sharonville State Game Area is rolling topography with a mix of land covers, including hardwoods, young successional forest, oak stands, open fields, grassland, wetlands and food plots. A partnership with Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors provides access to hard sided blinds (by reservation, priority to hunters with mobility/health challenges and wounded veterans), provides accessible trails, and offers tracked wheelchairs (by reservation). To make reservations, or to learn more, visit https://miofo.org/.

Additionally, the DNR-staffed Sharonville shooting range is located within this game area.

Sharonville State Game Area

Three Rivers State Game Area

St. Joeseph and Cass Counties - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

A prime destination is Three Rivers State Game Area which consists of over 2,000 contiguous acres of great habitat. The area has a mixture of oak, pine and mixed hardwood forests, wetland complexes, prairies and savannas.

Three Rivers State Game Area

Waterloo Recreation Area

Jackson and Washtenaw Counties - Spring Turkey Unit ZE

Waterloo Recreation Area is approximately 20,500 acres and is located north of I-94 between Ann Arbor and Jackson. The recreation area is open to hunting for all species following regular state regulations. This area boasts excellent deer, turkey and small-game hunting; and It is also open to trapping. The terrain is a mixture of open brush land and mature hardwood forest, with some pockets of open meadows mixed with several large areas of wetland habitat.

Waterloo Recreation Area

Yankee Springs Recreation Area

Barry County - Spring Turkey Unit ZF

At approximately 5,200 acres, Yankee Springs Recreation Area is located east of U.S. 131 between Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. About 3,500 of the acres are open to hunting during regular hunting seasons. Wildlife is abundant in the recreation area and deer and waterfowl hunting is very popular. Small game hunting in the area includes rabbit, squirrel, woodcock and ruffed grouse. The wild turkey population is also becoming well established. There are nine lakes within the state recreation area with all but two open to waterfowl hunting. Yankee Spring's rugged terrain, bogs, marshes, lakes and streams lend itself to many forms of outdoor recreation, including 30 miles of hiking trails. Additionally, the area is adjacent to the 13,000-acre Barry State Game Area

Yankee Springs Recreation Area