by Amy Trotter, MUCC Policy Manager
Did you know that you can hunt some kind of waterfowl somewhere in the State of Michigan
Male Mallard in flight
almost any day from September 1st through Valentine’s Day (that’s February 14 in case you didn’t know)? That sure makes all the licenses necessary seem like even more of a value: $6 base license, $12 waterfowl, and the $15 federal stamp (plus $2 if you buy it online). Even when you throw in $5 to apply for an opening day chance on one of the managed waterfowl areas, you are still getting 5.5 months of fun for $40—less than the cost of that one Valentine’s Day.
Michigan’s first early teal season in 50 years just ended on Sept. 7 and from all reviews went pretty well. The DNR conducted some field observations of hunters to see how this new season went (and they will do so for the next two years to report back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about continuing this season). Overall, there was wide success among hunters in accurately identifying teal among other species for harvest, which is good because incidental non-target harvest was one of the main reasons the last season was discontinued. According to Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason speaking at the last Natural Resources Commission meeting, the only major violation witnessed was the observance of the early teal season opening shooting hours, which is 30 minutes later than other waterfowl seasons.
Youth waterfowl hunting weekend also just took place last weekend statewide for properly licensed youth 15 years of age and younger and early goose season ended Sept. 15 in the middle and south zones.
So what’s up next?
- Regular goose season is underway in the U.P. and the middle and south zones will open up on Saturday, Sept. 20 (except for in Allegan and Muskegon County Wastewater Goose Management Units).
- North Zone duck season starts Sept. 27
- Middle Zone duck season starts October 4
- Southern Zone duck season starts October 11
Pay attention to the closing and re-opening dates of the seasons, these are intended to provide maximum recreational benefit to hunters and access to migrating waterfowl. Check out the DNR’s 2014 Waterfowl Hunting Digest for this information, shooting times, and more!