New Michigan State Law Allows 10-Year-Olds to Hunt Deer, Elk or Bear With a Firearm

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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

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. For more information, go to


Retired2hunt's picture

  This is great news for the


This is great news for the youth of Michigan.  Many other states need to look closely and adjust their requirements to allow responsible trained youth along with their responsible parents or chaperones to hunt the regular season that all other resident hunters enjoy - and even create early seasons to assist in youth being active within the sport.  I am all for states allowing responsible and trained youth to participate in this great sport.  Kudos to Michigan! 

SGM's picture

That is a good news story. I

That is a good news story. I was happy when Colorado lowered the age from 14 to 12 some years back. Just happened to fall in good for my son. As Hunter said, getting the kids out and involved when they are young is a great way to get them hooked for life.

hunter25's picture

This is a great new law and

This is a great new law and one that should have come a long time ago. More and more states are moveing to an earlier starting age to get kids started and grounded while they are young enough to not be so influenced by so many other things out there. I was born in Michingan but grew up in Wisconsin. I only got to hunt up there once in Michigan because of the age requirements back then. Different states are all over the place on this one and it would be nice if they were all the same. My plan is to take my grandson to Texas or someplace similar for hogs or something by the time he is eight years old as they don't have the restrictions that we do here in Colorado.