Michigan DNR Report For Their Opening Archery Season. Read Their CWD Rules !

Archery Season – Be Prepared

Archery deer season begins Monday – know the new rules

Michigan is the top state in the nation for deer taken with archery equipment, and archery season will be under way starting Oct. 1! The DNR wishes all archery deer hunters a safe and successful hunting season! Below are a few reminders and clarifications for those heading to the field.


  • Archery hunters in the Lower Peninsula can use a deer combo, deer or antlerless license during this season. See pages 31 and 36-38 of the Hunting Digest for more information.
  • There are no safety zones when using archery equipment.
  • Over-the-counter antlerless licenses are still available in select deer management units; see michigan.gov/deer.
  • Crossbows are legal to use in entire state Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and additionally in the Lower Peninsula from Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.

CWD and other regulations

  • To learn more about chronic wasting disease (CWD), including a map of where the disease has been found, visit michigan.gov/cwd.
  • Carcass disposal and transportation restrictions can be found in the Hunting Digest (pages 39 and 52) or under Hunting Information at michigan.gov/cwd.
  • To understand baiting and feeding restrictions for certain locations within the state, see page 50 of Hunting Digest.
  • Approved urine and lure attractants can be found at michigan.gov/cwd (page 49 of Hunting Digest).
  • For antler point restrictions throughout the state, see page 36 of Hunting Digest.
  • For hunting hours, see page 13 of Hunting Digest.

Mandatory check, deer check stations and drop boxes

There is no longer mandatory check anywhere in the state unless you move your deer out of CWD areas! If you are in the Core CWD Area or the CWD Management Zone, there are carcass transportation restrictions in place (click map for larger map image).

If you hunt in one of the CWD areas and will not be leaving the area, you do not have to have your deer checked nor are you subject to transportation restrictions.

If you are leaving CWD areas (including taking deer from the Core Area to the remaining counties in the Management Zone), you may do so only with the following:

  • deboned meat;
  • quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached;
  • antlers;
  • antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue;
  • hides;
  • upper canine teeth; or
  • a finished taxidermy mount.

OR you must present your deer to any DNR check station in the state (including partnering processors or taxidermists) or place the head in a drop box within 24 hours of harvest.

  • Find DNR check station and drop box locations, , including partnering meat processors and taxidermists, at michigan.gov/deercheck. On the interactive map, it is important to check the open dates and times for each check station. These are not consistent throughout the state.
  • Some drop boxes are open 24 hours – indicated on the interactive map.
  • CWD test results may take up to 14 business days during the busier times of the season. Visit michigan.gov/dnrlab to check your test results.

Drop boxes are self-serve, and you should assume that you will have to leave the deer head in the box unless you are doing a European or shoulder deer mount. If this is the case, you should visit a drop box, electronically register the deer through your smartphone, then take a CWD specimen tag from the drop box and keep the tag with the deer. Once the taxidermist capes out your deer, you need to bring the skinned-out head back to the drop box or to any DNR check station and submit the head with the CWD specimen tag.

Partnering processor check stations may or may not remove your deer head, so you should be prepared to remove the head yourself so that it can submitted for testing.

NEW antlerless license opportunity

Hunters hunting on private land in the CWD Management Zone have the option of purchasing discounted antlerless licenses at 40 percent off the usual price. These licenses are good for private land anywhere within the CWD Management Zone through Nov. 4, 2018, when they expire. Ask for Hunt # – 2CWD when purchasing this license. In addition to these discounted licenses, hunters can still purchase regular, over-the-counter antlerless deer licenses (see pages 39 and 40 of the Hunting Digest). Note: This not a separate season. This license only may be used to take antlerless deer during the archery season on private land with archery equipment from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1.

Tree-stand safety

  • Always use a fall-arrest system full body harness.
  • Always use a haul line – a line anchored to the tree stand that reaches the ground, to lift your unloaded firearm, crossbow and other equipment in and out of the tree stand. Be sure the barrel is pointed down and that the line is not attached through the trigger guard.
  • Always let someone know where you will be hunting and the exact times you will be gone.
  • Carry a communication device that you know receives a signal in the area you will be hunting.
  • Refrain from using screw-in steps on your tree stand.
  • Always step down onto your raised platform (tree stand) to ensure it is secured properly.
  • Always maintain three points of contact when climbing up to or down from your tree stand.

Help Michigan families in need this hunting season

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is an organization that works with the DNR to help feed families in your community. You can help by making a donation when you buy your hunting license OR by donating a harvested deer and delivering it to a participating processor. Each deer donated will provide more than 125 meals, and financial donations offset the cost of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison. To find a participating processor or learn more, visit sportsmenagainsthunger.org.

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