Best practices for firearm deer hunting season

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:22 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Firearm season begins for deer hunters on Nov. 15. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering best practices to hunters using firearms.

“Most of the violations conservation officers encounter during firearm deer season are simple mistakes people make when they get caught up in the excitement of the hunt or forget to put safety first,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division in a news release. “Our top priority is keeping people safe, so they have a good story to tell friends and family about their successful hunt.”

Here are the best practices for hunters to remember:

  • Properly tag your deer - Before field-dressing or moving a deer, kill tags should be filled out (including the month and date the deer was taken and the deer’s gender, and the number of antler points) and properly placed on the deer. The DNR also reminds hunters to report their deer within 72 hours of harvest.
  • Know your firearms and how it functions - Take the time to familiarize yourself with your firearm and make sure it is properly sighted and functioning before you go hunting. If it has been a while since you used your firearm, consider visiting a local shooting range to shoot some live rounds.
  • Respect landowner rights - Respect posted trespassing signs and property boundaries. If a deer runs onto private property, the hunter cannot retrieve it without the landowner’s permission. Conservation officers usually are contacted when trespass disagreements escalate, and a resolution cannot be reached.
  • Leave the land better than you found it - Whatever is brought into the woods must be taken back out.
  • Wear hunter orange - The DNR recommends wearing as much hunter orange as possible to increase visibility to other hunters.
  • Know and follow baiting regulations - Use bait sparingly wherever permitted to help curb the spread of diseases.
  • Hunt in-season, during legal hours - During firearm season, a hunter may legally shoot game starting 30 minutes before sunrise and until 30 minutes after sunset according to the DNR website. If you witness or suspect hunting outside of legal hours, the DNR encourages hunters to immediately call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
  • Be respectful to other hunters - Michigan law prohibits anyone obstructing or interfering with the lawful taking of animals.

For more information on the firearm deer season, hunting safety, lands open to hunting, hunting digests, and more, visit

Firearm deer hunting season will end on November 30.


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