New Michigan Law Allows 10-Year-Olds to Hunt Big Game with Firearms

New Michigan Law Allows 10-Year-Olds to Hunt Big Game with Firearms
New Michigan Law Allows 10-Year-Olds to Hunt Big Game with Firearms
A change in state law that took effect Sept. 1 makes it legal for 10- and 11- year olds to hunt deer, bear or elk with firearms in Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources announced.

The change is not reflected in the 2011 Hunting and Trapping Digest as the publication went to press before the law was changed.

The regulations change was part of the Hunter Heritage Act, which creates a new mentored hunting program and eliminates the minimum age requirements for hunting in 2012.

This year, hunters less than 14 years of age may hunt on private land with either a firearm deer license or junior combination deer license – if they have successfully completed hunter education training – or an apprentice hunting license. In either case, the youngster must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult designated by the parent or guardian.

Hunters less than 14 years of age may hunt with firearms on private land only. A youngster hunting deer must be in possession of either a firearms deer license or an antlerless deer license. A youth hunter ages 10 and 11 may use a combination deer license. If the youth has been hunter-safety certified, the accompanying adult must be at least 18 years of age. If the youngster is hunting with an apprentice license, the accompanying adult must be at least 21 years of age.


Beginning in 2012, the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, currently under development by a workgroup convened by the Natural Resources Commission will provide additional hunting opportunities for youngsters less than 10 years of age.


For more information on hunting opportunities in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/hunting.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.

Update: Sept. 19, 2011

Hopefully this information will help clarify the new changes for the 10 and 11 year old hunters. The change is already in effect and impacts those young hunters for this year!


Youth 10 – 13 can hunt for deer and bear with archery and crossbow equipment on both public and private lands.

Youth 10 – 13 can hunt for deer, bear, and elk with a firearm but only on private land or Commercial Forest Act (CFA) lands. They cannot hunt with a firearm on public land.

Youth 10 – 13 can hunt for elk with archery or crossbow but only on private land or CFA lands. They cannot hunt for elk on public land.


Youth 10 – 16 can hunt with a firearm license, junior combination license or antlerless license.

Youth 10 – 16 must have hunter safety or have an apprentice license and must be with an adult (18 or older if they had hunter education; 21 or older with an apprentice license).

Youth 14 – 16 can hunt for deer, bear, and elk with archery, crossbow, and firearm on public and private lands.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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