Landowners exemptions for hunting and fishing

Farmaholic

Active member
Oct 7, 2023
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I want to make the community aware that landowners and their relatives are often exempt from the permit requirement as long as they're hunting or fishing on their own land. I had some trouble at a processing plant because the owner wanted to see my hunting permit before he took my buck. I shot the buck on my own land and had the photos and GPS tracker to prove it. Luckily it all worked out, but it was a hassle that could've been avoided had he been aware of the exemption. Of course, not every government has this exemption in place, but it's worth a look because they're fairly common.
 
Location
United States
I'm surprised to hear of such an exemption. It seems like it would be difficult to track exactly where the game was captured. I suppose it makes sense, though. If you have an apple tree on your property, the apples belong to you, so I can see why the wild game would too. Thanks for teaching me something, Farmaholic.
 
I want to make the community aware that landowners and their relatives are often exempt from the permit requirement as long as they're hunting or fishing on their own land. I had some trouble at a processing plant because the owner wanted to see my hunting permit before he took my buck. I shot the buck on my own land and had the photos and GPS tracker to prove it. Luckily it all worked out, but it was a hassle that could've been avoided had he been aware of the exemption. Of course, not every government has this exemption in place, but it's worth a look because they're fairly common.

That's interesting the processing plant wanted verification that your kill was legally tagged. I guess they felt they could be held liable if they processed illegally harvested game? Sounds like they were just being precautious...

But I appreciate the PSA! People definitely need to be aware of their rights as far as what they can/can't do on their own private property. In Michigan at least, I'm pretty sure you don't need a hunting license to hunt deer on your own property (I think?), but you'll still need to buy a kill tag and report your harvest. Also, I don't think hunters are generally exempt from seasonal hunting restrictions just because they're hunting on their own land (in Michigan at least). Like anything involving licensing/permitting, requirements will vary state-to-state. Hunters will definitely have more rights if they're hunting on their own land, but they may want to check with their state DNR anyway, just to be 100% clear on any restrictions.
 
Hmm, I didn't know that was the case. Is this in all of the US? Or select states? Either way, I would imagine if you live near a lake or have some kind of body of water on your property. Or have grounds for hunting. But yeah, I had no idea this was a thing. I hope it's worldwide.
 
To my knowledge, in Michigan they still require you to have a license to hunt/fish. But I think you can do it on your own land without needing a permit. I know many people in the area, so I might have to ask some of them about it next time I speak with them. But I'm pretty sure you can as long as it's on your own property.
 
To my knowledge, in Michigan they still require you to have a license to hunt/fish. But I think you can do it on your own land without needing a permit. I know many people in the area, so I might have to ask some of them about it next time I speak with them. But I'm pretty sure you can as long as it's on your own property.

Yeah I think you do actually need a license in Michigan. I was talking to my dad this past weekend, after @Farmaholic had posted this, and ran the question by him. He said basically what I repeated above, that you don't need a license but do need to buy a tag and report your kill...but I don't think he's actually right about the license part (lol).

My family has 10 acres in southeast Michigan that backs up to a much larger parcel of undeveloped private land, and there's a healthy deer population that moves through the area. They have a hunting blind set up on the property and my dad and brother regularly hunt deer during the winter. I will say, when you're talking about a large area of private land like that, there's really not much risk hunting without a license (unless you maybe have particularly nosey neighbors). I think the main thing from a wildlife management standpoint is that you're tagging and reporting your harvest. State DNR needs that information to understand how well the deer population is being controlled and to set appropriate permitting requirements.
 
That's interesting the processing plant wanted verification that your kill was legally tagged. I guess they felt they could be held liable if they processed illegally harvested game? Sounds like they were just being precautious...
That's the first time that I've ever been asked. I've used them before, but I met with a different guy this time. Maybe he's just new. I thought it was weird. Your assumption about not needing a permit to hunt or fish on your own property isn't a given, actually. Kentucky comes to mind as an outlier. If you own less than 5 acres of land, you need a permit to hunt or fish on that property. That's why it's important to check the permitting laws because they're not always the same from place to place. Sadly, they sometimes seem to go against common sense as well.
 
Kentucky comes to mind as an outlier. If you own less than 5 acres of land, you need a permit to hunt or fish on that property. That's why it's important to check the permitting laws because they're not always the same from place to place. Sadly, they sometimes seem to go against common sense as well.

Agreed on the wisdom of checking with your state DNR before hunting or fishing without a permit on private property. But the reality is that there will always be folks who assume they can do whatever they want on their own land, regardless of what the government tells them.

Interesting fact you shared about Kentucky. It's like the state is recognizing that if you own more land, then you should be entitled to more freedom over that land's resources. I'd be interested to know if Kentucky applies this sort of private property principle just to hunting and fishing, or if owning more land translates to fewer requirements under any of the state's other land use/environmental laws.
 
Yeah I think you do actually need a license in Michigan. I was talking to my dad this past weekend, after @Farmaholic had posted this, and ran the question by him. He said basically what I repeated above, that you don't need a license but do need to buy a tag and report your kill...but I don't think he's actually right about the license part (lol).

My family has 10 acres in southeast Michigan that backs up to a much larger parcel of undeveloped private land, and there's a healthy deer population that moves through the area. They have a hunting blind set up on the property and my dad and brother regularly hunt deer during the winter. I will say, when you're talking about a large area of private land like that, there's really not much risk hunting without a license (unless you maybe have particularly nosey neighbors). I think the main thing from a wildlife management standpoint is that you're tagging and reporting your harvest. State DNR needs that information to understand how well the deer population is being controlled and to set appropriate permitting requirements.
That sounds right. I am not a hunter, but have family who have hunted, and I never recall them needing to get a permit, but they always mentioned something about their hunting license and renewing it every so often. I have an uncle who has a lot of land, and used to hunt on it, but that was many years ago and he since has lost his interest in hunting due to age and health. But I recall going there every so often, seeing a deer set up to be skinned. So they hunted a lot on that land. Never had issues from what I remember.

I don't know if or how they tag or report their harvest, but I assume they did, because they always ended up selling a portion of the deer too. I wonder if they would need a license to sell deer meat too.
 
Laws differ state to state, and even county to county. It is not only important to know the laws of the place you are visiting but even in the place you live. Sometimes small misunderstanding can cause a lot of problem, therefore, you need to become fully aware of what you can do and what you cannot do.
 

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