Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Waterfowlers get a 60-day duck season

Lansing – As expected, the state Natural Resources Commission at
its August meeting voted unanimously to approve a recommendation
from DNR waterfowl biologists and the Citizens Waterfowl Advisory
Committee for another “liberal” 60-day waterfowl season.

“We recognize the importance of maintaining Michigan’s waterfowl
heritage,” Barb Avers, DNR waterfowl specialist, told the NRC’s
Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries, prior to the vote.

The proposal also calls for a 45-day Canada goose season, much
of which will overlap with duck season this year.

“In past years, one of the desires of hunters was an overlap of
the duck and goose seasons, and what we have here, I think,
provides a lot of overlap,” Dave Luukkonen,DNR waterfowl biologist,
told the commission.

There is also a big change this year in the hunting zone
boundaries for goose hunting. Instead of dividing the state along
the Mississippi Valley Population Unit and the Southern James Bay
Population Unit as in the past, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
allowed the DNR to align Michigan’s goose management zones with the
three-zone system long-used for duck hunting – North, Middle, and
South.

“Aligning the goose and duck hunting units, which we think is a
good idea, makes a lot of sense,”_Luukkonen said.

“This simplifies waterfowl hunting regulations and increases
goose-hunting opportunity across the state,” Avers said in a
release.

In the North Zone (Upper Peninsula), duck season will run Oct. 4
through Dec. 2, while the regular goose season runs Sept. 22
through Nov. 5.

“The season starts about a week later than last year,” Avers
told the commission. “But it allows them to hunt through the
Thanksgiving weekend. That’s something the hunters have asked
for.”

In the Middle Zone (northern Lower), duck season will be Oct. 4
through Nov. 30 and Dec. 6-7, and goose season will be Oct. 4
through Nov. 10, and Nov. 27 through Dec. 3.

In the South Zone (southern Lower), duck season runs Oct. 11
through Dec. 7 and Jan. 3-4, and goose season will be Oct. 11
through Nov. 13, and Nov. 27 through Dec. 7.

The USFWS, which sets the framework for migratory bird-hunting
seasons nationwide, did not allow a canvasback season this year,
and put strict limits on scaup (bluebill) bag limits, creating a
two-tiered bag limit system.

There is a daily two-scaup limit for 20 days and a one-scaup
daily limit during the remaining 40 days of the season. The
two-bird limit is Oct. 11-30 in the North Zone; Oct. 18 through
Nov. 6 in the Middle Zone; and Oct. 25 through Nov. 13 in the South
Zone.

The daily bag limit for ducks is once again six birds, and the
possession limit is twice the daily limit. The daily limit on wood
ducks has been increased to three this year, but the other limits –
four mallards, but only one hen; two redheads; one pintail; one
black duck – remain the same as last year.

Hunters may shoot as many as five mergansers, but only two of
them may be hooded.

The youth waterfowl season for kids ages 10-15, will be Sept.
20-21.

The Tuscola/Huron and Saginaw goose management units have the
same goose season dates as the South Zone. The season at the
Allegan County GMU is Nov. 8-10 and Dec. 20 through Jan. 30. The
season at Muskegon Waste Water GMU is Oct. 14 through Nov. 13 and
Dec. 2-15. The daily bag limit is two for all GMUs.

The early goose season is Sept. 1-15 in Middle and South zones
except Saginaw, Tuscola, and Huron counties. In those three
counties as well as the North Zone, the early season runs Sept.
1-10. The daily bag limit is five geese, and the possession limit
is 10.

The late goose season will be Jan. 3 through Feb. 1, 2009 in the
South Zone, except the Allegan County and Muskegon Waste Water
GMUs. The daily bag limit during the late season will be five
geese, except in GMUs where it remains two.

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