Michigan goose hunters will enjoy a longer season and duck hunters will be able to take up to four scaup daily this year according to regulations that were approved by the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing yesterday.
The early Canada goose hunting season begins statewide Saturday, Sept. 1 and runs through Monday, Sept. 10 in the North Zone and in Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties; and through Saturday, Sept. 15 in the rest of the state. The daily bag limit is five.
The length of the regular Canada goose season has increased to 92 days. The daily bag limit is two. Regular goose season dates are:
- North Zone: Sept. 22 – Dec. 22
- Middle Zone: Sept. 29 – Dec. 29
- South Zone (excluding goose management units below): Sept. 22-23, Oct. 6 -Nov. 30 and Dec. 29 – Jan. 1
The goose seasons in designated goose management units (GMU), where the daily bag limit is two, are:
- Tuscola/Huron and Saginaw County GMUs: Sept. 22-25 and Oct. 6 – Jan. 1
- Muskegon County Wastewater GMU: Oct. 9 – Nov. 13 and Dec. 1-23
- Allegan County GMU: Oct. 6 – Nov. 25, Dec. 8-23, and Dec. 29 – Jan. 22, 2013
The late goose season – in the South Zone only and excluding the GMUs listed above – is Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2013. The daily bag limit is five.
Hunters may take 20 snow, blue or Ross geese daily and one white-fronted goose and one Brant during the regular and late seasons in respective zones and GMUs.
Duck hunting seasons are set for:
- North Zone (Upper Peninsula): Sept. 22 – Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-25
- Middle Zone: Sept. 29 – Nov. 25 and Dec. 15-16
- South Zone: Oct. 6 – Nov. 30 and Dec. 29 – Jan. 1
Duck bag limits are the maximum allowed under federal frameworks with the exception that only one female mallard may be taken daily. The daily bag limit for scaup has increased from two to four. Hunters may take up to six ducks daily with no more than four mallards (no more than one of which may be a female), four scaup, three wood ducks, two redheads, two pintails, one canvasback and one black duck.
The waterfowl hunting seasons were established under the federal framework through consultation between the Department of Natural Resources and the Citizens Waterfowl Advisory Committee.
“Season dates this year maximize opportunity for Michigan’s waterfowl hunters and provide for complete overlap of duck and goose seasons,” said DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist Barb Avers. “Hunters have expressed how important it is to be able to hunt ducks and geese together, and the dates we have established fit the bill.”
Avers explained that, despite Michigan mallard numbers being up, drought conditions throughout the summer will likely reduce wetland conditions going into the hunting season and concentrate ducks. Therefore, scouting will be a key factor to duck hunters’ success this year. However, open-water diving duck hunting has the potential to be very good this year. Numbers of diver ducks such as scaup, canvasbacks and redheads are up, and opportunity has expanded with the increase in scaup daily limits. Michigan’s location within the Great Lakes provides ample opportunity to pursue these species. Also, this fall and winter will be a great time for waterfowl hunters to pursue Canada geese. Goose numbers are up and the length of the regular Canada goose season has significantly increased.
For more information on waterfowl hunting in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/hunting and click on Waterfowl.
The DNR encourages hunters to participate in the new Wetland Wonders Challenge this fall. Hunters can register and hunt at four managed waterfowl areas, and they will be entered to win the ultimate prize package. In addition, special collector waterfowl bands will be available to those who hunt at each managed area. For more information about the challenge and Michigan’s managed waterfowl areas, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.
Hunters are also invited to help build Michigan’s Waterfowl Legacy by celebrating the Year of the Duck in 2012-2013. To learn more about the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy, visit www.michigan.gov/mwl.