Beginning on the 15th of September, small game hunters in Michigan will have the opportunity to get very busy. On that particular day, several different hunting seasons will be opening and offering a little something for everyone. If small game suits your fancy, the time has come for you to get out in the field in pursuit of these animals with four different seasons opening in the coming days.
First up on our list and opening on September the 15th is squirrel season which will run through March 1st. During this time the bag limit is five daily with a total of 10 in your possession. Squirrels are hunted by approximately 72,000 people annually but their numbers are holding steady, ranging from moderate to high.
Also opening in the 15th of September are cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hare seasons which run through March 31st. During this time, the daily bag limit will be five and total possession will be 10. Rabbit numbers throughout Michigan are looking good for the upcoming season so the odds of a successful hunt are definitely in your favor. The numbers of snowshoe hares, however, are down significantly.
Running from September 15th though November 14th and then from December 1st through January 1st is Ruffed Grouse season. The bag limit in this case will be five per day with 10 in possession for the northern 2/3’s of the state. The remainder of the state will have a bag limit of three daily with a total possession of six. Though more birds are expected this year than last, ruffed grouse are at a cyclical low but are still expected to be pursued by approximately 77,000 hunters. These birds are more plentiful in the Upper Penninsula and northern Lower Penninsula at this time.
Wild Turkey season opens on the 15th as well and runs through November 14th. This season is broken down into eight management units and licenses are issued via lottery. Licensing will end when the quota is met but a total of 51,850 will be available. If this quota is not met, counter sales of licenses will be conducted until sold out. Since fall turkey season is based on population increases, it is reasonable to expect success and possibly have a nice bird for Thanksgiving this year.
Slightly behind the seasons mentioned above is Woodcock season which does not open until a few days later on the 19th of September. It then runs through November 2nd with a bag limit of three and total possession allowance of six. It has been quite some time since Woodcock numbers have been plentiful with recent years showing a decline. However, this has seemingly slowed which will allow Woodcock hunting this year to be on par with last year’s season. These migratory birds are found in higher numbers in the northern 2/3’s Michigan so that is a good place to start initially but the birds will move south later in the season. Michigan is a Woodcock hunting hotspot, nationally known for hunters’ fondness for the bird. 32,000 hunters will be pursuing them this year and will be required to have a Woodcock endorsement stamp in addition to a license.
Though there are many other seasons continuing to open in the coming weeks, this is what we’re working with for now in terms of hunting in Michigan. If you have a fondness for bird hunting, your opportunity has arrived, likewise with squirrel and rabbit hunting opportunities. Get out there, be safe, and have fun!