Is It Legal To Hunt Wolves In Michigan?

There is plenty of wildlife in the state of Michigan including wolves as well as cougars, coyotes, moose, and rabbits. You cannot hunt all of them and there are strict rules restricting the hunting of certain species as their populations are looked after and efforts are made to control them.

Is It Legal To Hunt Wolves In Michigan?

That includes wolves who are a protected species so they should not be shot, let alone hunted. There are efforts to look after wolves in Michigan so you should check if it is legal to hunt them before you get in trouble.

In this post, we will look at whether it is legal to hunt wolves in Michigan and whether this is the case for other mammals in the state.  

Is It Legal To Hunt Wolves In Michigan?

The state of Michigan has several locations where you can hunt and the terrain can prove to be a challenge. However, at the moment, wolves are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act so they cannot be legally hunted.

Wolves can still be killed but only if they pose a direct and immediate threat to life. Once a wolf has been killed in this way, the incident needs to be recorded and reported to the Department of Natural Resources.

Though the hunting of wolves is currently illegal in Michigan, this stance may change over time. There is the possibility of a new state plan which would allow for wolf hunting to be allowed in the future.

However, that does depend on wolf populations and whether state species managers allow a hunt to even be considered.

As with any legislation, the stance can change if certain conditions are met, in this case, that is likely to be the population of wolves combined with the possible threat they possess. 

Should wolves lose federal protections then it could be open season for their hunting again. Lobbying can make a difference but there are those that want to protect the iconic predators, and those who see them as a challenge to be hunted.

Those that want to protect wolves include Native Americans and animal rights groups. On the other side of the argument,  there are hunting advocates who want to create the ground rules for when a hunt may be possible again in Michigan. 

The Department of Natural Resources can also create a wolf management plan which will allow the decision to hunt to fall on state species managers.

They can consider allowing a wolf hunt to reduce possible conflict between wolves and humans.

State species managers can also allow hunters with recreational opportunities to hunt the predators too. If this does become the case then it would be best to check locally whether wolves can be hunted or not.

Is It Legal To Hunt Wolves In Michigan?

The Other Mammals In Michigan

There are several other mammals that roam the wilderness in Michigan. That includes coyotes, cougars, and moose.


In the case of coyotes, hunting and trapping seasons are widely available across the state. They can be killed without a license if coyotes are known to be causing damage to private property.

This is also applicable if the coyotes are considered a menace to livestock, pets, and even humans.

However, some areas may not allow the hunting or trapping of coyotes as permitted nuisance control companies would be hired to help landowners to remove them as problem animals safely.


Wild cougars cannot be killed in the state of Michigan by the public, even in defense of livestock or pets. That is unless they get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

There is an exception for cougars that falls under the Large Carnivore Act which confirms that escaped pets can be destroyed should they pose a threat to property and life. 

Cougars were once native to Michigan but were largely wiped out around the early 1900s. There have been several sightings of the large cats in the state since around 2008.

These are likely to have occurred once the young males have dispersed from the core range. As well as Michigan, other mid-western and Eastern states have experienced cougar sightings too as these young males disperse from western states. 


Michigan, as well as the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, do not allow moose to be hunted. Moose are another native species to Michigan yet their numbers dwindled due to European settlement.

There has been a moose reintroduction program since the mid-Eighties when the Department of Natural Resources moved 59 moose from Ontario, Canada and relocated them to Marquette County.

The aim of the program was to engineer a self-sustaining population of moose in the Upper Peninsula. 

Final Thoughts

Wolves are iconic predators and are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. If you do shoot a wolf and kill it, the incident needs to be reported to the Department of Natural Resources.

That means that it is not legal to hunt wolves in Michigan and that’s the case for several other mammals. Moose cannot be shot in the state either, which is also the case in Wisconsin and Minnesota though North Dakota does allow it.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Was The Last Permitted Wolf Hunt In Michigan?

The last permitted wolf hunt was back in 2013 in Michigan though there may be plans afoot to allow them to be hunted again.

Many states do not allow the hunting of wolves, specifically the Gray wolf, without a permit or further authorization. The hunting of wolves is legal in three of the Mountain West states including Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. 

Which Animals Are You Allowed To Hunt All Year Round In Michigan?

While you may not be allowed to hunt wolves in Michigan, there are other animals that you can hunt. These include weasels, opossums, porcupines, skunks, red squirrels, ground squirrels, feral swine, and woodchucks.

This can be harvested at any time of the year with no bag limit, as long as a valid Michigan hunting license is used. 

Olivia Kepner