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Hunt Page Photo Youth Hunt Picture Taken by Lionel D. Grant /USFWS

Deer Hunting - Gun and Archery

 Deer 22 by Tim Kaufman

Voluntary Non-Toxic Ammunition Program

This year, Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge encourages deer hunters to use non-toxic ammunition during the refuge deer hunt.

Recent scientific studies show a strong link between spent lead ammunition and lead poisoning in scavenging birds. Eagles eat lead when they feed on animal carcasses or gut piles that contain toxic lead bullet fragments. Lead fragments the size of a couple of grains of rice can be lethal. Once lead enters the bloodstream, it damages a bird's nervous system and paralyzes its digestive tract. 

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge hosts a several pairs of bald eagles during the fall and winter. It is one of several refuges in the Midwest encouraging hunters to switch to non-toxic ammunition for deer hunting. 

For more information on these findings see the following:

Non Toxic Ammunition FAQ (PDF - 155KB)

Deer Hunting and Lead Fact Sheet (PDF - 203KB)


General Information

2016 is continuing the new white-tailed deer hunt lottery system.  Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is handling the lottery including all permits, and licenses for Deer Management (DMU) Unit 273 (Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge [SNWR] and Shiawassee River State Game Area [SRSGA]).  Applicants can apply for only one hunt at one location (e.g., SNWR or SRSGA).  Leftover permits will be issued on a first-come first-served basis starting September 8th at 10am through September 19th at 5pm and may be purchased for either area. See 2016 DMU 273 SNWR and SRSGA Reserved Hunt Application Sheet below for detailed information on the deer hunts and application process. 


2016 Deer Management Unit (DMU) 273 Reserved Hunt Application Information (PDF file - 1.74MB).

Shiawassee NWR Refuge specific hunting regulations 2016 Deer Hunt Regulations (PDF file - 77KB).  

Shiawassee NWR DMU 273 Hunt Area 3 Map (PDF file - 1.3MB).

Shiawassee NWR DMU 273 Hunt Area 3 Air Photo Map (PDF file - 1.6MB).

This 2016 Purchasing tutorial should help you purchase in a step-by-step manner (July 15-August 15th). 

2016 Deer Season Purchasing Tutorial (PDF file - 2.33MB)


For a complete list of all DNR license agents in the State,1607,7-153-10363_14518-34869--,00.html

Vehicle Permit 

New Since 2015: Vehicles permits will not be required while hunting at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.


2016 3-Day Scouting Period  

This year's scouting dates are September 23-25, 2016.  During this 3-day weekend, the entire refuge is open to hiking, bicycling, and deer scouting during daylight hours only. Please note that at this moment, there are no other opportunities for you to scout, but are welcome to use the refuge's trails or the Wildlife Drive (when it's open). Please note that you must stay on the designated trails and route on any day outside of Open House Weekend.  

For deer hunt related questions specific to Shiawassee NWR call the Hunter Message Center at (989) 777-5930 ex 2  

For Michigan E-License Questions contact them directly at (517)284-6057

For questions related to permits or the lottery process contact DNR Bay City office at (989) 684-9141.  


Tittabawassee River Floodplain Wild Game Consumption Advisory - For more information please read the Michigan Department of Community Health's Eat Safe Wild Game leaflet. 

2015 White-tailed Deer Hunt

2015 Refuge Deer Hunt Season Results: 596 permits issued across 15 hunt periods which resulted in a total harvest of 131. Overall hunter success rate was 22 percent. For the full report download a copy of the 2015 White-tailed Deer Harvest Report (PDF file - 302 KB).  

Youth Hunt Deer Hunt

Youth Hunt  

Youth Hunt (16 and younger) will be held September 17-18th, 2016. Mentors will be available. 

All Youth Hunt Participants Must Attend The Refuge's Mandatory Education and Sight-In Event; Sunday, September 11th from Noon-5pm. 

Attending this education event is Mandatory for youth to participate in the hunt. Drawn Permit will become VOID if youth does not attend this Sept. 11th event.

Youth hunt participants will have to hunt using supplied hunting blinds.  

Youths less than 14 are restricted to archery-only hunting. Youth 10-16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. Youth less than 10 that are hunting under the Mentored Youth Hunting License must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older. An adult accompanying a youth cannot possess or carry a firearm or bow and does not need a deer hunting license.  Youth’s parent/guardian must be listed as partner.  Youth hunters must have their hunter safety card. Mentors are available upon request (please contact Vicki Kennedy or Steve MacAlpine if Mentor is needed... See Below).

**All youth hunters will use blinds for youth hunt 201/202.**

Antlerless Leftover Permits will be available Sept. 8th at 10am.

There will be opportunities to Volunteer or Mentor with the Youth Hunt and the Non-Ambulatory Hunt.


Any questions about the 2016 Youth Hunt can be answered by contacting Vicki Kennedy (616) 822-5218 or Steve MacAlpine (989) 750-2742. You may also send questions via email to: 

For more details see Youth Hunt Press Release (PDF - 319KB)

See 2016 Youth Hunt Flyer (JPEG - 762KB)



Non-Ambulatory Deer Hunt

NA Hunt

This hunt is for disabled individuals meeting specific eligibility requirements. This hunt has been volunteer ran for over 25 years and provides a service that helps transition hunters into hunting outside of this program. Hunting blinds and assistance is provided. Antlerless Leftover Permits will be available Sept. 8th at 10am.  

For questions about this program contact Vicky Kennedy at 616.822.5218 or Steve MacAlpine at 989.750.2742.

See 2016 NA Hunt Flyer (JPEG - 662KB)


Goose Hunt 


2016 Refuge Goose Hunting: October 8th, 2015 - November 10th, 2016  

Download:  Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge Goose Hunt Information and Regulations  (PDF file - 157 KB). 

This year's scouting dates are September 23-25, 2016.  

11 Goose Hunting Zones (Party Areas) in 2016: Please note that there will be 11 goose hunting zones available on the refuge. Agricultural lands, where some of the goose blinds were located in the past, have been taken out of production and have been or are now being converted back to wetlands. To reduce clutter and provide more opportunities for quality hunting we have modified our hunting areas and now opened spaces along a designated stretch on the Shiawassee River. 

Look For:  

• *NEW* 1 river scramble area to accommodate 7 parties on the Shiawassee River. Hunters will need a boat to access these zones. Click to see "River Scramble Area" + Zone 4 (PDF File - 2.14 MB).   

• 4 dry land hunting zones will be available for hunting. Fields consist of mudflats (3) and soybean (1). Layout blinds suggested. Click to see Land Zones 1-3 (PDF File - 841 KB).

Goose hunting dates on the refuge are October 8th, 2016 - November 10th, 2016. A reserved hunt will be held opening weekend on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9. There MAY be room for stand-by hunters the first weekend, but with fewer blinds this year, there's no guarantee. Thereafter, hunting takes place only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays for the remainder of the season. The last day of goose hunting is Thursday, November 10th, 2016.  

A lottery drawing is held each morning of the hunt at 5:30 a.m. at the refuge headquarters.  Doors open at 5:00 a.m. for registration. Up to four (4) people per blind. There is a $4.00 fee per person; those individuals who meet the age requirements (age 62 or older) and possess an "Interagency Senior Pass" (cost is $10) receive a 50 percent discount. All State waterfowl regulations and refuge regulations apply. Hunters are required to stop shooting at 12:00 noon and drop off survey card(in goose hunt drop box) by 1:00 p.m. whether successful or not. Daily bag limit is three Canada geese per person per day.

See 2016 Goose Hunt Flyer (PDF - 923 KB)

2015 Refuge Goose Hunt Season Results: Hunters over 20 days of hunting harvested 164 Canada geese. 

State Information 

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for information about State regulations, licenses and more.


2016-2017 Trapping Season 

Furbearer trapping on Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is an important management tool in meeting refuge goals and objectives. Wetland habitats, dike maintenance, and migratory bird management are influenced by furbearer management.

A sealed-bid application system will be used to issue trapping permits. The primary targets of the trapping program are muskrat and raccoon, but other species can be taken pursuant to State of Michigan Trapping laws. River otter and coyote cannot be trapped legally on Shiawassee NWR.

A minimum bid of $200 is required per unit, payment will be made only if successful. A sealed bid including “Shiawassee NWR Trapping Bid” (last page of this packet), is due in the refuge office by 1:00 P.M., Thursday October 13, 2016. A public opening of the bids will be held at 1:05 P.M. on the same day. Successful applicants shall make a full bid payment by 3:00 P.M., October 20, 2016. Checks shall be made payable to "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service". Trapping parties may bid on all trapping units but parties can only win one of the trapping units (i.e., 1 party cannot win and trap all units). If a trapping party is the highest bidder for multiple units that party will have the choice for which unit they want to trap, the second highest bidder for the other units will win that unit. If units are not bid upon, winning parties will then be offered the remaining units based upon the amount of their bid for those units.

Click on 2016-2017 Trapping Proposal Package to download (PDF file- 892KB) a copy.

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2016
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