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Small game hunting checklist


Add or remove insulation layers in different weather/hunting conditions to stay comfortable.

  • Base layer – tops and bottoms
    • These will help on cold mornings, but also help you wick sweat as the day heats up.
  • Mid-layer – tops and pants
    • Long-sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts (multiple, thinner layers); jeans or nylon/wool pants; a fleece jacket or vest if weather necessitates more layers.
  • Outer layer – jacket/coat
    • Wind/waterproof.
  • Socks
    • Wool is a common choice.
  • Waterproof boots
    • Make sure to break them in before the season begins.
  • Hat
    • Hunter orange (firearm season only) if you don’t have a hunter orange vest or jacket.
  • Hunter orange vest
    • Required by Michigan regulations. See the Michigan Hunting Digest for more details. You may also wear a cap, hat, jacket or rain gear of hunter orange.
  • Gloves
    • Make sure you can pull the trigger while wearing them.


  • Firearm
    • Shotgun or rimfire rifle. Check Michigan hunting regulations to make sure your firearm complies.
  • Ammunition for firearm
    • #6 shotgun shells or caliber-specific rimfire loads
  • Firearm case
    • Soft-sided or hard-sided.
  • Gun-cleaning kit
    • Get a kit specific to your firearm.

Other hunting gear and items

  • Hunting license
    • Available online at E-License or at any license agent. Apprentice licenses are available for those who don’t yet have a hunter safety certificate. See the Michigan Hunting Digest for more information about license types and buying a license.
  • Knife
    • A sturdy fixed or folding blade of 3 inches is sufficient.
  • Flashlight, map, compass and smartphone (fully charged)
    • Along with carrying these items, for safety’s sake, always make sure someone knows about your hunting plans – where you’ll be hunting
  • Game bag
    • For carrying your harvested game.