Small game hunting opener is Sept. 15

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A hunter wearing camouflage, orange and a backpack walks in the woods with animated fall colored leaves falling in the foreground.

Get ready for the 2022 small game seasons in Michigan

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

Review regulations in the 2022 Hunting Digest

Season dates, bag limits and small game hunting regulations are available in the 2022 Hunting Digest and at

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.


The woodcock season is 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 (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.).
  • Zones 2 and 3: Oct. 20 - Nov. 14.

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 pheasants at a game bird hunting preserve.

Pheasant releases 

There will be a pheasant release program for 2022. Details and locations on the pheasant release program will be available at in the coming weeks. Release locations similar to last year are expected.

Plan a trip out to a GEMS

Take a road trip and stop at the six Grouse Enhanced Management Sites throughout the northern Lower Peninsula and the 13 sites across the Upper Peninsula.

We have specifically managed these areas for grouse and woodcock habitat, optimizing your chances of a successful bird season. With mowed walking trails, abundant young forest cover and open parking areas with trail maps, the GEMS provide a quality hunting experience for everyone.

Each site offers a unique hunting trip and hundreds of acres of publicly accessible land. Eighteen sites are equipped with a map, information kiosk and hunter walking trails.

Start planning your GEMS trip and find additional public hunting lands on our Where to Hunt page.

Questions? Contact us

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

Additional resources

Buy online ►

Buy your licenses online.

DNR app ►

Get the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app.

Hunting land ►

Find land open to public hunting near you.

Download the new Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app

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