December hunting opportunities abound|
With the 2002 Regular Firearm Deer season closing Nov.
30, Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials today reminded
hunters that December offers field opportunities for two important
upland game bird species and a continuation of the hunting season for
several other popular small game animals.
The late pheasant hunting season and the ruffed grouse season
reopened Dec. 1. The pheasant season remains open until Dec. 15 in
selected areas of southern Michigan (see map on page 29 of 2002 Michigan
Hunting and Trapping Guide) for the taking of male pheasants.
During the December season, hunters spend about 43,000 days
afield and harvest nearly 13,000 pheasants. The daily bag limit is two
male pheasants per day with a season limit of eight birds. In December,
pheasants can be found in thick grassland cover adjacent to agricultural
The ruffed grouse hunting season is open through Jan. 1, 2003 in
the Lower Peninsula (Zones 2 and 3). In Zone 2, the daily bag limit is
five birds per day. The bag limit in Zone 3 is three grouse per day.
Hunters flush one to two grouse per hour during this late season, while
hunting in heavy brush cover and dense young aspen timber.
Small game hunting for squirrels, rabbits and hares
provides hours of hunting opportunity during the winter. The hunting
season is currently open for these animals. The squirrel season ends
on Jan. 1, 2003. Hunters may harvest five squirrels per day. Gray
squirrels are found throughout large expanses of big timber, while fox
squirrels prefer more open country with a mix of small woodlots and
The cottontail rabbit is the "big game" of young hunters, and is the
leading game animal taken in Michigan. Rabbits occupy most areas of the
state and are one of the most abundant game animals. The hunting season
is one of the longest of all game animals running through March 31,
2003. Hunters are allowed to take five rabbits each day. The season for
varying hares (snowshoe hares) coincides with the rabbit hunting season
and the bag limit is also five per day.