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Small game hunting opener is Sept. 15

Event includes Dinner, silent auction, raffle opportunities

Enjoy small game hunting throughout the state with your base license.

— Cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare: Cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare hunting seasons are open statewide Sept. 15 – March 31. The daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 10.

— Squirrel, fox and gray: Fox and gray squirrel (black phase included) season is open statewide Sept. 15 – March 31. The daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 10.

— Ruffed grouse: Ruffed grouse season dates, statewide, are Sept. 15 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1. In zones 1 and 2, the daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 10. In Zone 3, the daily bag limit is three and the possession limit is six.

— Woodcock season opens Sept. 15: The woodcock season now runs Sept. 15 – Oct. 29 statewide. The daily bag limit is three, and the possession limit is nine. All woodcock hunters must have a valid base license and a free woodcock stamp. The woodcock stamp includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). Shotguns must be plugged so they are capable of holding no more than three shells.

Pheasant hunting and license requirements

Pheasant (male only) seasons will begin in October. The daily bag limit is two, and the possession limit is four.

— Zone 1: Oct. 10-31 (See the Hunting Digest for Zone 1 pheasant management unit boundaries).

— Zone 2 and 3: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14.

New for 2021: Pheasant license

A $25 license is required for all hunters 18 years old and older to hunt pheasants on any public land in the Lower Peninsula or on lands enrolled in the Hunting Access Program.

You do not need a pheasant hunting license if you are:

— A private-land pheasant hunter.

— Hunting on public lands in the Upper Peninsula.

— A lifetime license holder.

— 17 years old or younger.

— Only hunting pheasant at a game bird hunting preserve.

The free pheasant endorsement required in 2019 and 2020 has been discontinued and is no longer required for hunters pursuing pheasants.

Pheasant releases

Money from the new license will be placed into an account to be used only for the purchase and release of live pheasants on state-owned public lands with

suitable pheasant habitat. Releases will be conducted during the regular pheasant season, which runs from mid-October through mid-November.

Pheasants are expected to be released at the following state game areas in 2021:

— Cornish (Van Buren County)

— Crow Island (Bay and Saginaw counties)

— Erie (Monroe County)

— Lapeer (Lapeer County)

— Leidy Lake (St. Joseph County)

— Pinconning Township (Bay County)

— Pointe Mouillee (Monroe and Wayne counties)

— Rose Lake (Clinton and Shiawassee counties)

— St Johns Marsh (St. Clair County)

Additional pheasant hunting information is available in the 2021 Hunting Digest and at Michigan.gov/SmallGame.

Digests, licenses and where to hunt

Hunting Digest: Find small game hunting season dates, bag limits and regulations.

Buy Licenses: Get ready for the small game seasons and buy your licenses online.

Find GEMS: Grouse Enhanced Management Sites offer premier bird hunting.

For on-demand digest access that travels where you do, without the need for internet access, download DNR hunting and fishing digests right to your phone. Find the current digests and downloading instructions at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.

Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453) with questions.

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