Changes in Michigan’s hunting and fishing licenses

DNRMichigan’s hunting and fishing license structure will undergo a bit an overhaul starting March 1st of next year thanks to a new bill signed into law today by Governor Rick Snyder.

The revamped platform will reduce the number of license types by more than 80 percent in attempt to simplify outdoor enthusiast’s options. As a result, wildlife and fishery habitats will add vital revenue to their conservation, outreach and law enforcement efforts. Under the new structure, anglers will no longer need to choose between Restricted and All-Species licenses, and hunters will be able to purchase a new, all-encompassing “base” license, allowing them to hunt small game and purchase additional hunting licenses for other species. The funds generated by the new initiative will be used to improve habitat, create hunting opportunities, conduct more outreach with hunters, and bolster law enforcement.

“Effectively managing Michigan’s world-class natural resources and providing a variety of easily accessible outdoor recreation opportunities are key to the quality of life for residents and visitors to our state,” Snyder said. “This legislation makes it easier for hunters and anglers to get the licenses they need, and helps ensure that current and future generations will have the opportunity to explore and enjoy Pure Michigan outdoor recreation.”

Highlights of the new law sponsored by state Representative Jon Bumstead include:

  • A reduction in the number of hunting and fishing licenses from more than 200 to just 42; and
  • An anticipated $18.1 million in additional revenue in the first full year of implementation. The Department of Natural Resources will use these funds to improve fish and wildlife habitat, hire more conservation officers, and provide better outreach and education to hunters and anglers.

“The Snyder administration listened to the concerns of Michigan sportsmen and women, resulting in a license package focused on our priorities and firmly entrenched in accountability and transparency,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Hunters, anglers and trappers are the backbone of natural resource management in Michigan. We are proud to support those resources for everybody’s benefit.”

DNR Director Keith Creagh said the new license structure will help keep Michigan’s costs competitive with other Great Lakes states.

“This improvement to Michigan’s hunting and fishing licenses is great news for our customers and for the natural resources we work hard to protect and promote,” said Creagh. “Moving from more than 200 licenses to just over 40 will create a purchase experience that is simpler and much more efficient for residents and visitors.

“Michigan is known for its world-class natural resources. With this revenue and working with our partners, we’ll be able to maintain and improve those resources for current and future generations.”

Costs and options for the Fall and Winter 2013 seasons remain unchanged.

More information on how the additional revenue will be invested can be found on the DNR website (see What You Get: More Bang for your Buck) and  ( What You Get: Casting for the Future). A list of new hunting licenses  and fishing licenses– effective March 1, 2014 – can also be found on the DNR website.

A similar license restructuring bill, which governs the restructuring of off-road vehicle permits, was signed in July. That legislation – HB 4669 – became PA 75 of 2013.

To learn more about the upcoming changes, visit