Looking for exceptional hunting in the Midwest? Look no further than Michigan.
The Great Lakes State offers incredible turkey, big game, waterfowl, and upland hunting. These are the five best Michigan quarry to chase on your hunting trips.
1. Wild Turkey
If you have gobbler fever, you need to book a spring or fall trip to Michigan. The eastern wild turkey is abundant in Michigan but what makes turkey hunting in the Great Lakes State unique is the quality of the hunt. With a one bird limit, successfully hunting a turkey in Michigan is a source of great pride for many Michiganders.
According to the MI DNR, and thanks to 50 years of restoration management, there are now wild turkeys in every single county in Michigan’s lower peninsula and turkeys in several areas of the upper peninsula. Imagine hunting turkey in the north woods with a friend or loved one while watching the sun come up in the distance over the lake. Now that’s a pretty picture. Turkey hunting is unique, dynamic, challenging, and tons of fun. Michigan is scenic, abundant in wildlife, and has over 10 million acres of public land.
2. North American Whitetail
Whitetail deer are Michigan’s official game mammal and every fall thousands flock to the deep woods all over the state. Sure, there are trophy buck destinations in other states but the whitetail hunting culture in Michigan is hard to beat and the deer herd is one of the largest in the country.
Every year over one million licenses are sold to deer hunters across the state. “Deer camp” is a phrase familiar to many families and is looked forward to like a favorite holiday. Nothing can beat spending opening day at your favorite deer cabin — the pre-dawn excitement around the coffee pot, heading out into the cold, dark woods, and coming back hours later greeted by, “Did you see anything??”
Whitetail hunting runs deep in Michigan culture making it a hunting experience you don’t want to miss.
3. Black Bear
The Michigan black bear hunt is the primary bear management tool in Michigan. A majority of the bears that call Michigan home live in the Upper Peninsula which provides hunters with a true north-woods wilderness hunting experience.
Michigan black bear hunting stands out as it is very accessible to hunters – both residents and out-of-staters alike. Once you draw a tag, the license is inexpensive and a good selection of bear outfitters exist throughout the northern part of the state to help guide you on your hunt. Black bear are Michigan natives and continue to thrive in the vast wilderness here.
4. Upland Birds
Ruffed grouse and American woodcock are two excellent upland game birds that hunters walk the colorful woods with their favorite dogs and hunting buddies each fall in search of. The heritage and community of upland hunters in Michigan is thriving.
In the 2014 season, Michigan led the nation in several woodcock hunting surveys — including number of active hunters and overall woodcock population. The Michigan DNR has a new initiative, in partnership with hunters, to develop Grouse Enhanced Management Systems (GEMS) throughout the state. These young forest areas are proactively managed to allow for aspen growth in order to facilitate excellent grouse opportunities.
Michigan is quickly becoming a destination for wing shooters throughout the Midwest and beyond.
Michigan lies on the Mississippi flyway and the open water throughout the state make for excellent duck and geese hunting. Population surveys in combination with management programs ensure great waterfowl hunting opportunities continue to thrive in Michigan.
The moisture from heavy snow and lots of rain in recent years have made for very favorable wetland basin conditions — attracting mallards especially. The giant Canada goose is a permanent Michigan resident and their flocks thrive here.
A majority of the geese harvested in Michigan are the resident giant Canada goose. Michigan DNR maintains seven Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas (MWHA) and these “wetland wonders” provide world-class waterfowl hunting opportunities. Ducks, ducks, or goose – Michigan is a waterfowl hunter’s paradise.
Michigan’s official motto may be, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you” but its unofficial motto should be, “If you seek a variety of great hunting experiences, you’ve come to the right place.”
Great lakes, great times, great hunting!Hunting season dates, license information, etc. is all found on michigan.gov/dnr.