The shortening days of fall bring with them the transformation of green leaves to crimson and gold, the first frost, lines of waterfowl winging southward across the sky, and thoughts of past hunting trips in the north country.
Hunting is permitted within the national lakeshore in accordance with federal migratory bird laws and federal and State of Michigan regulations. Along with fishing, hunting is an activity specifically allowed by the Congress of the United States when it authorized Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in 1966.
With its varied topography, lakes, streams, and mixed coniferous and hardwood forest, Pictured Rocks provides habitat for a variety of game animals. Most hunting activities are for white-tailed deer, grouse, woodcock, bear, and snowshoe hare. Whether the method is archery, muzzle loading, or firearms, hunters find ample hunting opportunities from grown-over farm fields to backcountry cedar swamps.
Hunting is not permitted within the lakeshore from April 1 to Labor Day. The hunting season begins with bear and grouse in September and continues through the winter with snowshoe hare. Refer to your "Michigan Hunting Guide" for specific dates and bag limits. A Michigan hunting license is required, and is available in local communities. Appropriate waterfowl stamps (state and federal) may also be required.
Hunting dogs are permitted during legal hunting seasons when accompanied by a licensed hunter, and may travel unrestrained in all backcountry and non-developed areas of the lakeshore. However, dog training within the park prior to hunting season is NOT permitted.
When not actively engaged in hunting, dogs must be restrained on a six-foot leash. State hunting regulations apply in the use of dogs for hunting. Please review information concerning Pets at the lakeshore.
Hunting Closures and Other Regulations
- No person may discharge a firearm or bow and arrow within a safety zone of 450 feet from an occupied dwelling, building, cabin, camp, or campground.
- Certain developed and high visitor use areas are closed to hunting for public safety.
- Target practice is not permitted in the lakeshore. Spotlighting is prohibited at all times. By federal law, trapping is not permitted within the lakeshore.
- Motor vehicles are allowed only on designed roads within the lakeshore. Designated roads are those that are open to the general public and access visitor use areas. ATVs are not allowed in the national lakeshore, including on and off park roads.
- While in a vehicle, firearms must be unloaded and enclosed in a case or unloaded and in the trunk. Arrows must be in the quiver when afield outside legal hunting hours.
- Bait must be placed only on the ground. Unused bait must be stored in a sealed animal-proof container to inside a hard-sided vehicle.
- Tree stands, hunting platforms, steps, and ladders must be portable, and cannot be affixed or attached to any tree by nails, screws, or bolts. Screw-in steps are not allowed.
- Ground blinds must be identified with the owner's name and must be removed at the end of the hunting season. Natural materials may be used but only of dead and down branches.
- Camping is allowed in the backcountry only at designated sites with a valid permit. Front country camping is allowed only at drive-in campgrounds.
- National Park Rangers and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers are authorized to enforce hunting and fishing regulations within the lakeshore.
Your Safety and Resource Protection
Hunters need to be especially safety conscious because many day hikers and backpackers use the park during hunting season. Be a safe, responsible hunter - know your target.
While carrying a firearm, all hunters must wear hunter orange that is at least 50% of the garment.
Whether game or non-game, common or endangered, all wildlife plays an important role in nature. They enrich the natural world and add to the pleasures of recreationists. Safe hunting practices and a sound conservation ethic help ensure these opportunities for the future. Protected wildlife include eagles, hawks, owls, non-game birds, wolves, lynx, moose, marten, fisher, cougar, and cub bears. It is also unlawful to shoot turtles, frogs, and snakes.
For more information ...
Hunting Closure Areas site bulletin (pdf)
Hunting Closure Final Rule, Federal Register (pdf)
State of Michigan regulations
Today's Hunters, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (pdf)
Last updated: September 22, 2021