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 Michigan deer hunting license, 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.

2023 Hunt Date

October 28 through November 4, 2023

Submitting an Application

Applications for the 2023 hunt may be submitted between January 1, 2023 and August 31, 2023

Applications may be mailed, emailed or faxed. Each hunter must complete an individual application. A non-refundable $50.00 application fee is required before a permit will be processed. is the preferred method of payment. Fees may also be paid by charge card or check. Checks should be made payable to National Park Service. Groups may send one check for all the hunt applications in their party.

NMI Hunt Application

Mail applications to
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
9922 Front St
Empire, Mi 49630

Email applications to
Fax applications to 231-326-4719 (Attn: Special Use Permits)


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 on October 27 (the day before the hunt begins) and return hunters to Leland on Saturday, November 4.

Dock facilities are very limited on North Manitou Island and access is heavily dependent on weather conditions. Neither the National Park Service nor the Department of Natural Resources guarantee that transportation to or from the island will coincide with the desired transport time. 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.


  • Deer may be taken with handguns, rifles, crossbows, bows and arrows, shotguns and muzzleloading firearms, including black powder handguns.

  • All hunters are required to wear hunter orange at all times in accordance with Michigan Department of Natural Resources regulations.
  • The baiting of deer on North Manitou Island 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 during the NMI managed hunt will not count against the hunter’s regular deer season bag limit on the mainland. Rangers will tag each deer legally taken (during the one-week hunt) with a NMI deer tag.
  • Deer may be quartered and boned but head must be kept.
  • Camping is prohibited within 300 feet of any water source, building or other campsites.
  • There is a limit of four people and two tents per site in the Village Campground. Up to 10 people are allowed in backcountry camping groups.
  • No services are provided and hunters should bring all supplies.
  • Properly store food and garbage in a manner that prevents access by animals.
  • Open fires are only permitted in National Park Service fire rings in the Village Campground.
  • Small wood burning stoves are only allowed inside tents. Ashes must be cold when disposed of by burying.
  • Only dead wood found on the ground may be used for wood burning stoves or campfires.
  • All trash must be packed off the island.
  • Human waste and toilet paper must be buried 6-8 inches deep or packed out.
  • The use of chainsaws or other motorized equipment or tools are prohibited.

Last updated: January 9, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


231 326-4700

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