North Manitou Island Deer Hunt

A special hunt is held annually on North Manitou Island (NMI) to control the deer herd and preserve the natural vegetation. A park hunting permit, along with a current State of Michigan deer hunting license (Michigan DNR license code 140), is required to participate in the one-week hunt. In issuing these permits, the Park Superintendent serves as the agent of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to implement the deer hunt on NMI. Permits are not transferable.

2024 Hunt Date

October 26 through November 2, 2024

Submitting an Application

This year year applications for the hunt may be submitted beginning Monday, June 3, 2024.
The hunt application period will end when 200 applications are received or on September 30, whichever comes first (late applications will not be accepted).
All applications must be submitted on
A non-refundable $50.00 application fee is required for each hunter.


Ferry Service

Information on transportation to and from the Island may be obtained from Manitou Island Transit, P.O. Box 1157, Leland, Michigan, 49654, telephone 231-256-9061.

Reservations are required for ferry service during the hunt. Please make your reservations early to assist Manitou Island Transit in trip planning.

The Manitou Island Transit ferry is expected to transport hunters from Leland to North Manitou Island the Friday before the hunt begins.Dock facilities are very limited on North Manitou Island and access is heavily dependent on weather conditions.

Should hazardous weather prevent a scheduled pick up, hunters should be prepared to spend additional days on the island.

When transporting equipment, it is very important that all equipment be well packed and labeled with the owner’s name and address and all firearms must be unloaded and cased.

Charter Boat

Charter boats must have a current commercial use authorization with the park to be able to transport hunters to the Island.

Hunters may arrange transportation with a charter company and arrive on the Island before the first day of the hunt.

A backcountry camping permit is required for any nights spent on the Island outside of the one-week hunt.

Hunters are not permitted to hunt deer with a firearm before the park-managed hunt begins on Saturday.

Current Charter Transportation CUA holders:

Manitou Fishing Charters 231-218-5853

Private Boat

Access by private boats is not recommended due to inadequate safe docking and lack of a protected harbor.

We strongly recommend that you use the Manitou Island Fishing Charters or have a friend drop you off. Do not bring your boat and expect a safe anchorage or dock facility!

If you have any other questions regarding the hunt, please call Park Headquarters at 231-326-4741.

Hunt Rules


  • Hunters must have a State of Michigan deer hunting license, Michigan DNR license code 140.

  • For the one-week managed hunt, all hunters are required to check in with the rangers in person.

  • Deer may be taken with handguns, rifles, crossbows, bows and arrows, shotguns and muzzle loading firearms, including black powder handguns during the one-week managed hunt.

  • All Michigan State Gun Hunting Regulations apply to North Manitou Island, including hunter orange requirements and prohibition of baiting, including powders, salt blocks, etc. Violations of these regulations will result in Federal and State charges, in addition to hunting permit revocation on North Manitou Island.

  • Carts and other wheeled devices are allowed for the North Manitou Island deer hunt, but are restricted to one or two wheeled buck totes only. The use of motorized carts is prohibited.

  • There is no bag limit on the number or sex of the deer that can be taken during the special hunt.

  • Deer taken legally on North Manitou Island will not count against the hunter’s regular deer season bag limit on the mainland. Park rangers will affix a special North Manitou Island deer tag to each legally taken deer.

  • Deer may be quartered and boned but head must be kept. Deer may be hung in the maintenance barn. Rangers will tag deer hung in the barn throughout the week.

  • Hunters are responsible for getting their deer tagged before leaving the Island.

  • National Park Service Island facilities and operations will be shut down by Columbus Day or sooner, weather depending. Hunters need to be self-sufficient to survive for a period of time that may be longer than originally planned.

  • Use of trail cameras is prohibited.

Backcountry Camping

  • Backcountry camping permits should be posted at your campsite and include the names of all persons in your party. The pink copy of the permit should be given to rangers during check-in in Leland or at the NMI Village.

  • Wilderness management restrictions apply to camping on the Island.

  • Camping is prohibited within 300 feet of any water source, building or other campsites.

  • There is a limit of 4 people and 2 tents per site in the Village Campground. Up to 10 people are allowed in backcountry camping groups.

  • Open fires are only permitted in the group campground fire ring in the Village Campground.

  • Small wood burning stoves are only allowed inside tents. Ashes must be disposed of by burying.

  • Only dead wood found on the ground may be used for wood burning stoves or campfires.

  • Properly store food and garbage in a manner that prevents access by animals.

  • All trash must be packed off the island.

  • Human waste and toilet paper must be buried 6-8 inches deep or packed out.

  • No services are provided, and hunters should bring all suppolies.

  • Potable water is available in the village only - bring drinking water or a water purification device.

  • The use of chainsaws or other motorized equipment or tools are prohibited.

  • Flagging trails or leaving other types of trail markers is prohibited.

  • National Park Service Island facilities and operations will be shut down by Columbus Day or sooner, weather depending. Hunters need to be self-sufficient to survive for a period of time that may be longer than originally planned.

Last updated: May 20, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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