Big Changes in Michigan’s 2014 Hunting Licenses
Those who enjoy hunting in Michigan know it’s never too early to begin planning for the season. This year, it’s important for prospective hunters to familiarize themselves with a new structure of hunting (and fishing) licenses. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has made major changes, beginning with the 2014-2015 seasons, to simplify what had been in place for over a decade and provide some discounts for certain combinations of licenses.
The main difference introduced by the new system is the establishment of a base hunting license. This is basically a small game license and is now required as a prerequisite for other additional licenses, such as whitetail deer, wildfowl and upland birds. The concept of the base license is meant to encourage more small game hunting, particularly as a way to introduce youngsters and others without previous hunting experience to field sports. The fee is $11.00 for residents, $6.00 for juniors (16 years old and younger) and $151.00 for non-residents. These base licenses are not required for the non-resident 7-day small game license. Also, individuals who are applying for limited permit hunts- elk, bear, turkey, antlerless deer and wolf-do not need to have a base license when they enter a drawing, but if they win a tag they will be required to buy one before they can buy a license for the special hunt..
Another innovation this year is the creation of a combination license. This includes a fishing license, a base hunting license and the two-deer combination tags. The price structure makes purchase of these combination licenses less expensive than buying each separately. A resident can purchase a combo for $76.00, seniors (65 years or older) for $43.00 and non-residents for $266.00. If an individual has already purchased a separate fishing license and wants to buy a combo one instead, the DNR will refund the difference in cost.
Although many people still like to purchase their hunting and fishing licenses from their local gun shop or outdoor supply store, the DNR also has an efficient on-line system for electronic purchase of licenses. One of the advantages of buying licenses electronically is the ease, speed and low cost – free! – of replacing one if it is lost. The DNR website, at the familiar URL of michigan.gov/dnr, continues to offer detailed information on game laws, season calendars, information on the Pure Michigan Hunt lottery (a tremendous hunting package offered for just $5.00 a ticket) and information on wildlife populations’ conditions. Hunter education courses, programs for disabled hunters and even maps of land open to public hunting are also provided.
What has not changed – and should never change – is the Report All Poaching program. The people of Michigan are justly proud of their natural resources – the Michigan whitetail herd, for example, is one of the largest in the nation – and are jealous about protecting them. Remember that poachers are nothing but selfish, low-down thieves; report all poaching activities by calling (800) 292-7800!