Meet the Species

Meet the Species

Without hard work and funding, several of the species below may have disappeared in Michigan. Wildlife management is crucial to maintain the thriving wildlife we enjoy today. The habitat improvements, disease prevention and species restoration efforts done by dedicated professionals and volunteers alike are funded primarily by hunting and fishing license revenue – not from taxes.


  • Michigan’s elk disappeared by the late 1800s.
  • Today’s elk herd dates to 1918.
  • Michigan’s population goal is between 500 and 900 elk. As of January 2019, the elk population was approximately 1,196.
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Kirtland's Warbler

  • They winter in Bahamas for eight months.
  • Population: Over 2,000 nesting pairs.
  • Once endangered, delisted in 2019.
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Lake Sturgeon

  • Can live up to 100 years.
  • Can grow up to 7 feet in length.
  • Can weigh up to 200 pounds.
  • Listed as a state threatened species.
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  • Females are slightly larger than males.
  • Ospreys generally pair for life.
  • There are over 250 nests statewide.
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  • Wild turkeys roost in trees at night.
  • A group of turkeys is called a “rafter.”
  • Baby turkeys are called “poults.”
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White-Tailed Deer

  • Found in every Michigan county.
  • Most live in female-led family groups.
  • Like cows, deer have four stomachs.
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Snowshoe Hare

  • Its coat changes depending on the season.
  • Lack of snow and ground cover during winter makes snowshoe hares an easy target for predators.
  • According to a study by MSU, the hare population in the Lower Peninsula has declined by nearly 50%.
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Ruffed Grouse

  • An elusive bird that is a treat to see for conservationists, bird-watchers and hunters alike.
  • They were named after their “ruffed” neck feathers.
  • Ruffed grouse live in the similar habitat to the American woodcock.
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Piping Plover

  • A shorebird that nests only on beaches.
  • It was first listed as an endangered species in 1985.
  • Found at shoreline locations on Lake Michigan, Huron and Superior from early April to mid-August.
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  • By the late 1800s, only a handful of moose remained in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  • In the mid-1980s, moose were translocated from Ontario, Canada.
  • In 2019, an estimated 509 moose were in the western Upper Peninsula.
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Mitchell's Satyr Butterfly

  • One of the world’s rarest butterflies.
  • Found only in Michigan and Indiana.
  • It has brown coloring with a row of black, yellow-ringed eyespots on the undersides of its wings.
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Karner Blue Butterfly

  • The size of a nickel.
  • Live in habitats called oak barrens or savannas.
  • Female butterflies lay their eggs only on or near lupine plants.
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Peregrine Falcon

  • Considered a federally endangered species from 1970 to 1999, when conservation efforts led to its delisting.
  • Thrived when reintroduced into urban areas where tall buildings mimic cliff faces.
  • They are the world’s fastest animal.
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  • Nonmigratory game birds.
  • An increase in agriculture and development greatly affected Michigan’s pheasant population by changing their grassland habitat.
  • Landowners are now encouraged to plant native grasses on unused land to restore the pheasant’s habitat.
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Wood Duck

  • In the early 1900s, the wood duck was near extinction. Today, populations are increasing or holding steady.
  • They perch on trees and nest in hollow spaces in trees.
  • They take very well to artificial nesting boxes placed in their wetland environment.
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Black Bear

  • Before 1925, the black bear was unprotected in Michigan.
  • Today, the Michigan DNR works to reduce the amount of bear-related conflicts while also making sure the population is healthy.
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American Woodcock

  • Michigan is one of the nation’s top nesting locations for woodcock.
  • Its welfare can gauge the well-being of other animals that share its environment.
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  • Sharp-toothed fish that can grow to more than 50 inches long.
  • Muskie are considered the “ultimate challenge” in freshwater fishing, because they are hard to catch.
  • They have been known to eat anything from fish to ducks.
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