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Michigan

Hunting

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

Managing Waterfowl

Migratory game bird management in the U.S. is a cooperative effort between state and federal governments. Migratory bird treaties with Canada and Mexico govern the management of migratory birds in the U.S., distinguishing those species that can be hunted from those that cannot and establishing limits on hunting season dates and season lengths. Authority lies with the federal governments in the respective countries. For waterfowl management, the U.S. and Canada are divided into four flyways: the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific (Michigan lies within the Mississippi flyway). In the U.S., the flyway councils, consisting of representatives from state and provincial game management agencies, recommend regulations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for waterfowl and for most migratory, shore and upland game birds.

Flyway technical committees, consisting of state and provincial biologists, advise the councils. These technical committees evaluate species and population status, harvest and hunter-participation data during the development of the council recommendations. The FWS evaluates the council recommendations, considering species status and biology, cumulative effects of regulations and existing regulatory policy, and develops final regulations. (Content modified from www.flyways.us).

Once final federal regulations are known, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources analyzes population and migration data, studies hunter opinions and meets with the Citizens Waterfowl Advisory Committee. The DNR uses the input from the CWAC and from hunters across the state to develop recommendations for waterfowl hunting seasons that are presented to the Natural Resources Commission. The NRC then makes the final decisions for waterfowl hunting regulations in Michigan. Visit Michigan.gov/Waterfowl for more information about CWAC.

Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program

Who coordinates the Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program?

Michigan’s Waterfowl Stamp Program is coordinated by the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waterfowl and wetland conservation, in partnership with the DNR.

How are funds from the Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program used?

Proceeds from stamp sales will be used to fund MDHA projects, with 10 percent used to match DNR funding for purchasing wetlands.

Who designed the 2021 Michigan waterfowl stamp and print?

John M. Roberts created the artwork for the 2021 Michigan waterfowl stamp and print. The stamp features a drake wood duck.

Do I have to purchase a Michigan waterfowl stamp?

No. Purchase of this stamp is voluntary, and you do not need it to hunt in Michigan.

MDHA will mail waterfowl hunters a free copy of the standard-edition stamp (subject to availability) if they send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a copy of their Michigan waterfowl hunting license to MDHA Waterfowl Stamp Program, P.O. Box 186, Kawkawlin, MI 48631.

How do I purchase a Michigan waterfowl stamp or print?

First, go to Michigan.gov/Waterfowl and scroll down to “Additional Resources,” then click on “Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program” to print an order form. You can mail your order form to MDHA Waterfowl Stamp Program, P.O. Box 186, Kawkawlin, MI 48631.

How long will it take to receive my stamp or print?

You should receive your stamp or print in four to six weeks

Early Teal Season

Which species can be hunted during the early teal season?
Only
blue-winged and green-winged teal may be hunted during the early teal season. Hunters are strongly encouraged to refresh their duck identification skills for this season. Do not shoot if you are not sure of your target.

When is the early teal season?

The season runs from Sept. 1-16, statewide.

What is the daily bag limit and possession limit during the early teal season?

The daily bag limit is six teal, and the possession limit is 18 teal.

What are some tips for teal hunting?

Here are a few teal hunting tips:

  • Decoys will easily attract teal, so use them to bring birds in closer to aid in identification.
  • Pass shooting is not recommended.
  • Teal prefer shallow waters and areas along shallow margins of ponds and lakes.
  • Look for areas with lots of mud flats and sparse vegetation.
  • Avoid forested wetlands, where you are likely to encounter wood ducks.
  • Visit Michigan.gov/Waterfowl and click on “Early Teal Season” to find more information about the season.

What time of day can I hunt teal?

Teal can be hunted from sunrise to sunset.

DateTime Zone A a.m.Time Zone A p.m.
September 16:578:08
September 26:588:06
September 36:598:04
September 4
7:01
8:02
September 5
7:02
8:01
September 6
7:03
7:59
September 7
7:04
7:57
September 8
7:05
7:56
September 9
7:06
7:54
September 10
7:07
7:52
September 11
7:08
7:50
September 12
7:09
7:49
September 13
7:10
7:47
September 14
7:11
7:45
September 15
7:12
7:43
September 16
7:13
7:42

Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas

What time of day can I hunt teal?

Teal can be hunted from sunrise to sunset. See the table below for early teal season shooting hours for time zone A. (See page 26 for time zone A location information.)

Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas

What is a managed waterfowl hunt area, and where are they located?

Managed waterfowl hunt areas, or Wetland Wonders, offer first-class waterfowl hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. There are seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas located in southern Michigan. Daily drawings are conducted locally for free hunting-zone permits throughout the season (see drawing dates and times in the tables on pages 13 and 14).

What equipment should I bring to a managed waterfowl hunt area?

Use of waders, decoys, calls, retrievers, and small boats and motors is recommended.

Are there special rules at managed waterfowl hunt areas?

Yes. Special rules are enforced, including shell limits, shot size limits, hunting party size, etc. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders.

Are managed waterfowl hunt area drawings ever canceled?

Normal managed-area drawings may be canceled late in the season if extreme weather results in low hunter participation. Area managers will post amended check-station hunting rules a minimum of two days prior to any changes. Late in the season, hunters may wish to call area headquarters to verify that drawings will be held.

Do managed waterfowl hunt areas hold waterfowl reserved hunts?

Yes. Some hunts during the opening weekend of duck season are by reservation; see pages 20 and 21 for application information.

Will drawings be different in 2021?

It is unknown at the time of publishing whether there will be a need for
physical distancing related to COVID-19 at the managed waterfowl hunt areas this fall. We strongly advise hunters to check the current status by visiting Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders or contacting the managed waterfowl hunt areas.

Area, County and Nearest Town

Phone

Youth Hunting Dates

Drawing Dates and Times

Fennville Farm (Allegan County, Fennville)

269-561-2258

Dec. 18 (a.m.) non-reserved

Jan. 1 (a.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Wed., Sat., and Sun. from Dec. 18 – Feb. 13. Drawing at 5:30 a.m. Permits valid until 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon hunts: No afternoon draws.

Closed: Closed for goose hunting Sept. 1-30.

No drawings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from Dec. 18 – Feb. 13.

Self-registration available for goose hunting outside of drawing dates from Nov. 6-13, and Nov. 25 – Dec. 5 at the Fennville Farm Unit office.

Self-registration available for duck hunting outside of drawing dates at the Fennville Farm Unit office.

Duck hunting is open during entire South Zone duck season by self- registration or through drawing.

Fish Point (Tuscola County, Unionville)

989-674-2511

Oct. 2 (p.m.) reserved

Nov. 6 (p.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Daily 5:30 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Afternoon hunts: Daily 11:00 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Muskegon County Wastewater (Muskegon County, Twin Lake)

231-788-5055 Call for opening dates

Oct. 30 (a.m. and p.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Tues. and Sat. 5:30 a.m.

Afternoon hunts: Thurs. and Sat. 11:00 a.m.

Hunts continue through November; no longer closed Nov. 15-30.

Permits for Tues. morning drawings are valid until close of shooting hours.

Nayanquing Point (Bay County, Linwood)

989-697-5101

Oct. 2 (p.m.) reserved

Oct. 16 (p.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Daily 5:30 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Afternoon hunts: Daily 11:00 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Pointe Mouillee (Monroe County, Rockwood)

734-379-9692

Oct. 9 (p.m.) reserved

Nov. 7 (a.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Sun., Thurs., and Oct. 9 5:30 a.m. (Reserved hunt opening weekend of duck season)

Afternoon hunts: Sun., Tues., and Oct. 9 11:00 a.m. (Reserved hunt opening weekend of duck season)

Permits for Thurs. morning drawings are valid until close of shooting hours.

Shiawassee River (Saginaw County, St. Charles)

989-865-6211

Oct. 9 (p.m.) reserved

Nov. 6 (p.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Daily 5:00 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Afternoon hunts: Daily 11:00 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

St. Clair Flats (Harsens Island, St. Clair County, Algonac)

810-748-9504

Oct. 9 (p.m.) reserved

Nov. 5 (p.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Daily 5:30 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Afternoon hunts: Daily 11:30 a.m. (Reserved hunt first and second weekend of duck season)

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (Saginaw County, Saginaw)

989-777-5930

Oct. 31 (a.m.) non-reserved

Morning hunts: Tues., Sat., and Sun. 5:30 a.m.

Afternoon hunts: Thurs. 12:00 p.m.

Note: Please go to www.fws.gov/ refuge/shiawassee/ prior to your hunt to see updates and Refuge specific regulations.

There will not be a reserved hunt at Shiawassee NWR for the 2021 season.

page14image1298679200 page14image1298679488

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend

When is the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend?

The Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend will be Sept. 18-19, statewide for properly licensed youth 16 years old and younger.

Which licenses do I need to hunt the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend?

You will need a base license, an apprentice base license or a mentored youth license. If you are 16 years old, you also need to have a waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp.

I am a youth waterfowl hunter under 16 years old. Do I have to hunt with an adult?
Yes. If you are 10-16 years old, you must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone 18 years of age or older designated by your parent or guardian. If you are under 10 years old, you must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older, and the adult must meet all the provisions of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.

I am a youth waterfowl hunter hunting with an apprentice license. Do I have to hunt with an adult?
Yes. Youth who are hunting with a base apprentice license must be accompanied by an adult 21 years old or older who has a nonapprentice base license and a waterfowl license.

What can I hunt during the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend?

Ducks, mergansers, geese, coots, and moorhens may be harvested; accompanying adults are not permitted to harvest these species during the hunt unless hunting during the September portion of the Canada goose hunting season. The daily limits and species restrictions are the same as those allowed in the regular waterfowl hunting season.

Veterans and Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days

When will these days take place?

The Veterans and Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days will take place statewide Sept. 18 -19, concurrently with the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend.

What documentation do I need to hunt?

Participating veterans and active-duty U.S military personnel are required to have documentation afield and must present it upon request of a Michigan conservation officer, tribal conservation officer or any law enforcement officer. The following documentation will be accepted as proof of status: military ID, leave papers,

duty papers, military orders, copy of DD Form 214, enhanced driver’s license or documentation from the Veterans Administration regarding disability status.

Which licenses do I need to hunt?

You must have a base license, a waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp.

What can I hunt during the Veterans and Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days?
Ducks, mergansers, geese, coots and moorhens may be harvested. The daily limits and species restrictions are the same as those allowed in the regular waterfowl hunting season.

Veterans Preference Drawings at Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas

When will these drawings take place?

Veterans preference drawings at the following managed waterfowl areas will take place Nov. 11, for properly licensed resident active-duty U.S. military personnel and veterans. There will not be a veterans preference drawing at Fennville Farm.

  • Fish Point
  • Harsens Island
  • Muskegon County Wastewater
  • Nayanquing Point
  • Pointe Mouillee
  • Shiawassee River
  • Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

What documentation do I need to hunt during the veterans preference drawings?

The following documentation, along with a valid Michigan driver’s license or voter registration card, will be accepted as proof of status: military ID, leave papers, duty papers, military orders, copy of DD Form 214, enhanced driver’s license or documentation from the Veterans Administration regarding disability status. If you were discharged from the Army or Air Force National Guard, you may provide a copy of NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 23.

Which licenses do I need for the veterans preference drawings?

You must have a base license, a waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp.

Which parties will be eligible for the veterans preference drawing?

To be eligible for the veterans preference draw, single hunters must be active-duty military personnel or veterans; party hunters must have at least one member in their party that is active-duty military or a veteran.

2021 Reserved Waterfowl Hunt Drawing

How many licenses can I apply for?

From Aug. 1-28, you can apply once for the reserved waterfowl hunt drawing. You must be at least 10 years of age or have a mentored youth license to apply.

Do I need to have a base license or waterfowl license before applying?

No. You may apply prior to obtaining your licenses.

How much is an application?

Applications are $5.

What happens if I am selected in the drawing?

If you are selected in the drawing, you will be eligible to hunt during the opening weekend at the location, date and time assigned to you. If you are successful, you will be required to purchase the following licenses based on your age.

9 and younger

10 - 15

16 and older

Mentored youth license and migratory bird youth (HIP endorsement)

Base license and migratory bird youth (HIP endorsement)

Base license, waterfowl hunting license and federal migratory bird hunting stamp

Hunting conditions (e.g., water levels, crop conditions) may vary, and hunters
are encouraged to call area headquarters for the most up-to-date conditions. Managed waterfowl hunt areas enforce special rules (e.g., shell limits, shot sizes, use of motion-winged decoys). Consult area maps or contact area headquarters for information.

Where can I buy a license?

You can buy a license from a retail license agent, or online at Michigan.gov/ DNRLicenses. Find a license agent at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenseAgents. To avoid delays at check stations, hunters are urged to purchase all licenses in advance of their reserved hunt.

What can I harvest during the reserved waterfowl hunt?

You can harvest any waterfowl species with an open season during your reserved hunt.

How to Apply for a Limited-License Hunt

What identification do I need to apply for the drawing?

You will need a valid driver’s license issued by the state where you live OR a State of Michigan ID card (issued by the Secretary of State) OR a DNR Sportcard (issued by retail license agents or at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses).

I am only 9 years old. Can I apply for a reserved waterfowl hunt?

Yes. If you are licensed under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, you may apply.

How do I apply for the hunt?

First, look at the 2021 Reserved Waterfowl Hunt Choices table on pages 20 and 21, and choose the date and time you want to hunt. Next, look at the table to find the number for the hunt unit you chose. Then, purchase an application for the hunt number(s) you chose (you can select two hunt numbers – first and second choice). You can purchase an application at a retail license agent or online at Michigan.gov/ DNRLicenses. Finally, check your receipt for accuracy and retain it as proof of your application.

How many times can I apply?

You can only apply one time. It is unlawful to apply more than once.

The receipt I received is not printed clearly or has an error. What do I do?

You are responsible for obtaining a DNR application receipt that states your customer ID and hunt choice. Do not accept a receipt that is not legible. Check this receipt for accuracy and retain as proof that you applied. Ensure any application errors are corrected prior to the application deadline. If you submit an invalid application, you will be ineligible for the drawing.

I am having trouble applying. What do I do?

Call 517-284-9453 (WILD) for assistance.

How do I know if I was successful in the drawing?

You are responsible for obtaining your drawing results online. They will be available Sept. 20 at Michigan.gov/Waterfowl.

2021 Reserved Waterfowl Hunt Choices

Location (a)Hunt Date (b)Hunt HoursHunts Available (c )Hunt Number
Harsens IslandOct. 9A.M.350001
Harsens IslandOct. 9P.M., Youth (d)350002
Harsens IslandOct. 10A.M.350003
Harsens IslandOct. 10P.M.350004
Harsens IslandOct. 16A.M.350005
Harsens IslandOct. 16P.M.350006
Harsens IslandOct. 17A.M.350007
Harsens IslandOct. 17P.M.350008
Shiawassee RiverOct. 9A.M.400009
Shiawassee RiverOct. 9P.M., Youth (d)400010
Shiawassee RiverOct. 10A.M.400011
Shiawassee RiverOct. 10P.M.400012
Shiawassee RiverOct. 16A.M.550013
Shiawassee RiverOct. 16P.M.550014
Shiawassee RiverOct. 17A.M.550015
Shiawassee RiverOct. 17P.M.550016
Fish PointOct. 2A.M.350017
Fish PointOct. 2P.M., Youth (d)350018
Fish PointOct. 3A.M.350019
Fish PointOct. 3P.M.350020
Fish PointOct. 9A.M.350021
Fish PointOct. 9P.M.350022
Fish PointOct. 10A.M.350023
Fish PointOct. 10P.M.350024
Nayanquing PointOct. 2A.M.350025
Nayanquing PointOct. 2P.M., Youth (d)350026
Nayanquing PointOct. 3A.M.350027
Nayanquing PointOct. 3P.M.350028
Nayanquing PointOct. 9A.M.350029
Nayanquing PointOct. 9P.M.350030
Nayanquing PointOct. 10A.M.350031
Nayanquing PointOct. 10P.M.350032
Pointe MouilleeOct. 9A.M.210033
Pointe MouilleeOct. 9P.M., Youth (d)210034
Pointe MouilleeOct. 10A.M.210035
Pointe MouilleeOct. 10P.M.210036


  1. Successful applicants must be accompanied by one to three appropriately licensed hunters. Maximum party size is four hunters, but no more than two adults per party during youth hunts.
  2. No changes or cash refunds are permitted.
  3. Number of hunts in 2021 is subject to change.
  4. Rules for reserved p.m. youth hunts: Anyone may apply. Maximum party size is four hunters, with no more than two adults per party. On the day of the hunt, the hunting parties must have at least one licensed youth 16 years of age or younger. A parent or legal guardian may not allow a youth hunter 10-16 years of age to participate unless accompanied by a licensed adult meeting all other reserved hunt requirements. Youth hunters under 10 must be accompanied by a qualified Mentored Youth Hunting Program mentor.

Base License Purchase

Do I need a base license?

Yes. All hunters are required to have a base license before purchasing other licenses. The base license provides funding for habitat and conservation work on both public and private land and supports the work of conservation officers and field staff to ensure safe, legal hunting practices are followed. The base license is valid for hunting small game.

When can I purchase a 2021 base license?

The 2021 base license is currently available for purchase at retail license agents or at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses.

What identification do I need to purchase my base and other licenses?

You will need a valid driver’s license issued by the state where you live OR a State of Michigan ID card (issued by the Secretary of State) OR a DNR Sportcard (issued by retail license agents or at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses). All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1960 must present their hunter safety certificate or previous hunting license (other than an apprentice license) to purchase their licenses.

How do I know if I can purchase a resident hunting license?

To qualify to purchase a resident hunting license, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Reside in a settled or permanent home or domicile within the boundaries of this state with the intention of remaining in this state. The ownership of land in Michigan by itself is not a qualification for a resident license.
  • Be a full-time student at a Michigan college or university and reside in the state during the school year.
  • Serve full-time in the U.S. military and be officially stationed in Michigan.
  • Serve full-time in the U.S. military and maintain residency in Michigan.

I am a nonresident. Can I hunt waterfowl on a nonresident three-day or seven- day small game license?
Yes. A nonresident three-day or a nonresident seven-day small game license allows the purchase of a waterfowl license without the purchase of a base license.

Do I have to carry my hunting license when hunting?

Yes, you must carry your base and waterfowl license, HIP endorsement, federal duck stamp and the identification used to purchase those licenses and present them upon request of a Michigan conservation officer, a tribal conservation officer or any law enforcement officer when hunting. It is illegal to use another person’s hunting license.

I am U.S. military personnel. Do I get a discount on licenses?

Hunting license fees are waived for all full-time, active-duty U.S. military personnel who have maintained resident status, except for hunting licenses obtained through a drawing. The individual must present military ID, leave papers, duty papers, military orders or other evidence verifying that he or she is a member of the military, along with a valid Michigan driver’s license or voter registration card.

Michigan Waterfowl Hunting License

Do I need a waterfowl hunting license?

All waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older must purchase a Michigan waterfowl hunting license in addition to a valid base license, including those hunting on their own enclosed farmland. Purchase of a waterfowl license includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program.

Harvest Information Program (HIP)

Do I need a HIP endorsement with my waterfowl hunting license?

Yes. To hunt migratory birds (ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, rails, etc.), hunters must register with the federal Migratory Bird HIP. HIP registration is free and included automatically with the purchase of a Michigan waterfowl license or woodcock stamp, indicated by the HIP endorsement “Migratory Bird Hunter” printed on the license or stamp. Purchasers will also be asked HIP survey questions regarding their migratory bird harvest during the previous year.

Waterfowl hunters under 16 years old must register with HIP by obtaining the free “Migratory Bird Youth” product from a retail license agent or online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses. A current-year HIP endorsement must be carried when hunting migratory birds.

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp

What are federal migratory bird hunting stamps, and will I need one to hunt?

Federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps, commonly known
as “duck stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A federal duck stamp is required for all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older. A duck stamp is not required for rail, snipe or woodcock hunting.

Where can I get a federal “duck stamp”?

You can get a federal duck stamp at post offices, at retail license agents or online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses. A service fee of $3.00 will apply for all retail license agent and online purchases. The purchaser will be issued a “temporary duck stamp,” which serves as a valid federal duck stamp for 45 days or until the purchaser receives the official federal duck stamp via U.S. mail. The federal stamp must be signed across its face with your name in ink.

Apprentice Hunting

How many times can I purchase an apprentice hunting license?

As an apprentice hunter, you may purchase this license for two license years before you must successfully complete a hunter safety course.

I am not a resident of Michigan. Can I purchase an apprentice license?

Yes. The base apprentice hunting license is available to residents and nonresidents.

Can I hunt by myself with an apprentice license, or do I need to hunt with someone else?
When hunting as an apprentice hunter, you must be accompanied by someone 21 years of age or older who has a regular, current-year hunting license for the same game species that you are hunting.

I am a youth apprentice hunter. Do I have to hunt with my parents?

If you are an apprentice hunter who is 10-16 years old, your accompanying hunter must be your parent, guardian or someone designated by your parent or guardian who is at least 21 years of age. The accompanying hunter must have a regular, current-year hunting license for the same game species that you are hunting.

How close do I need to be to my accompanying hunter during the hunt?

Your accompanying hunter must be able to come to your immediate aid and stay within a distance that permits uninterrupted, unaided visual and verbal contact.

Does my accompanying hunter need to have a waterfowl license?

For hunting waterfowl, your accompanying hunter needs a current-year waterfowl hunting license.

I am an accompanying hunter. How many apprentice hunters can I supervise?

You may accompany no more than two apprentice hunters.

Mentored Youth Hunting

What is the Mentored Youth Hunting Program?

The Mentored Youth Hunting Program allows youth hunters 9 years old and younger to hunt with a mentor who is a least 21 years old, has hunting experience and has a valid Michigan hunting license other than an apprentice license. The mentor is limited to two hunting devices (shotgun, rifle, bow and crossbow) in the field while mentoring and the youth must be within arm’s length of the mentor at all times. Any hunting device possessed by a mentored youth must be sized appropriately

to fit the physical abilities of the youth. The mentor will be held responsible for all actions of the youth hunter while in the field.

What can a mentored youth hunt with their license?

The mentored youth license is a “package” license to hunt small game, waterfowl, turkey (spring and fall) and deer, trap furbearers and fish for all species. Additional restrictions apply; complete program details can be found in the Michigan Hunting Digest or online at Michigan.gov/MentoredHunting.

Hunting Zones and Time Zones

Michigan is divided into waterfowl (duck, coot, moorhen and goose) hunting zones: North, Middle and South; see map below. The North Zone includes all of the Upper Peninsula. The dividing line between the Middle Zone and South Zone is a line beginning at the Wisconsin border in Lake Michigan, due west of the mouth of Stony Creek in Oceana County; then due east to, and southeasterly along the south shore of Stony Creek to Scenic Drive, southeasterly along Scenic Drive to Stony Lake Road, easterly along Stony Lake and Garfield Roads to M-20, east along M-20 to U.S. 10 Business Route (BR) in the city of Midland, east along U.S. 10 BR to U.S. 10, easterly on U.S.-10 then crossing U.S.-75 to state highway M-25 (west of the town of Bay City), easterly along M-25 into Tuscola County then northeasterly and easterly on M-25 through Tuscola county into Huron County, turning southeasterly on M-25 (near the town of Huron City; also locally named North Shore Road) to the centerline of Willow Creek in Section 4, T18N R14E, Huron County, then northerly along the centerline of Willow Creek to the mouth of Willow Creek into Lake Huron, then directly due east along a line from the mouth of Willow Creek heading east into Lake Huron to a point due east and on the Michigan/USA-Canadian border.

Hunting Zones and Time Zones

Hunting Hours

When is it legal for me to hunt during the day?

The map above includes hunting-hour time zones and time adjustments needed for zones B, C and D. Actual times for Time Zone A are shown in the table on page 27. Hours in the table are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset (adjusted for daylight saving time). Shooting hours for the early teal season differ; see page 11.

Zone A Hunting Hours Table

One half-hour before sunrise to sunset (adjusted for daylight savings time).

Zone A Hunting Hours Table (September - February)

Datea.m.p.m.
September 16:278:08
September 26:288:06
September 36:298:04
September 46:318:02
September 56:328:12
September 66:337:59
September 76:347:57
September 86:357:56
September 96:367:54
September 106:377:52
September 116:387:50
September 126:397:49
September 136:407:47
September 146:417:45
September 156:427:43
September 166:437:42
September 176:447:40
September 186:457:38
September 196:467:36
September 206:477:34
September 216:487:33
September 226:507:31
September 236:517:29
September 246:527:27
September 256:537:26
September 266:547:24
September 276:557:22
September 286:567:20
September 296:577:19
September 306:587:17
October 16:597:15
October 27:007:13
October 37:017:12
October 47:037:10
October 57:047:08
October 67:057:06
October 77:067:05
October 87:077:03
October 97:087:01
October 107:097:00
October 117:106:58
October 127:126:56
October 137:136:55
October 147:146:53
October 157:156:51
October 167:166:50
October 177:176:48
October 187:196:47
October 197:206:45
October 207:216:44
October 217:226:42
October 227:236:41
October 237:256:39
October 247:266:38
October 257:276:36
October 267:286:35
October 277:296:33
October 287:306:32
October 297:326:30
October 307:336:29
October 317:346:28
November 17:366:26
November 27:376:25
November 37:386:24
November 47:396:23
November 57:406:21
November 67:426:20
November 76:436:19
November 86:445:18
November 96:465:17
November 106:475:16
November 116:485:15
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Waterfowl Hunting at State Parks, Recreation Areas

Can I waterfowl hunt at Michigan state parks or recreation areas?

Unless noted here, in state law or posted on location, state parks are not open to waterfowl hunting, but state recreation areas are open to waterfowl hunting.

Portions of the following state parks and scenic sites are open to waterfowl hunting:

  • Algonac State Park
  • Bay City State Park
  • Coldwater Lake State Park
  • Craig Lake State Park
  • Duck Lake State Park
  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Hartwick Pines State Park
  • J. W. Wells State Park
  • Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park
  • Mitchell State Park
  • Negwegon State Park
  • North Higgins Lake State Park
  • Old Mission Point State Park
  • Onaway State Park
  • Palms Book State Park
  • Port Crescent State Park
  • Sleeper State Park
  • South Higgins Lake State Park
  • Sturgeon Point State Park
  • Thompson’s Harbor State Park
  • Van Buren State Park
  • Van Riper State Park
  • Wagner Falls Scenic Site
  • Warren Dunes State Park

The following state parks and recreation areas are closed entirely to waterfowl hunting from Sept. 1-6. All or portions are open after Labor Day.

  • Cheboygan State Park
  • Fayette State Park
  • Fisherman’s Island State Park
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area
  • Hoeft State Park
  • Indian Lake State Park
  • Island Lake Recreation Area
  • Leelanau State Park
  • Ludington State Park
  • McLain State Park
  • Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
  • Rifle River Recreation Area
  • Silver Lake State Park
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park
  • Wilderness State Park
  • Sterling State Park

Portions of the following state parks and recreation areas are closed to waterfowl hunting from Sept. 1-6. Portions are open after Labor Day.

  • Holly Recreation Area
  • Pinckney Recreation Area
  • Sleepy Hollow State Park
  • Seven Lakes State Park

Portions of the following state recreation areas are closed to waterfowl hunting from Sept. 1-15. Portions are open beginning Sept. 16.

  • Brighton Recreation Area
  • Ionia Recreation Area
  • Lake Hudson Recreation Area
  • Ortonville Recreation Area
  • Pontiac Lake Recreation Area
  • Waterloo Recreation Area

Portions of the following state recreation areas are closed to waterfowl hunting from Sept. 1-15. Portions are open beginning Sept. 16.

  • Fort Custer Recreation Area
  • Island Lake Recreation Area
  • Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area

Portions of the following state recreation areas are closed to waterfowl hunting.

  • Highland Recreation Area
  • Proud Lake Recreation Area
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area

Contact your local DNR Parks and Recreation or Wildlife office for more information.

Violations of state migratory bird regulations are also violations of federal regulations.

Joint State-Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

What equipment can I use to kill migratory birds?

You may use a bow and arrow, a crossbow or a shotgun 10-gauge or smaller and capable of holding no more than three shells. Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells should be plugged with a one-piece filler incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so that the total capacity of the shotgun does not exceed three shells.

What equipment is illegal for use to kill migratory birds?

Hunters may not use traps, snares, nets, swivel guns, punt guns, battery guns, machine guns, fishhooks, poison, drugs, explosives or stupefying substances. Single-projectile shotshells are also illegal for use.

Can I use a car or aircraft to hunt migratory birds?

No. You may not hunt from, or with the aid or use of, a car or other motor-driven land conveyance or aircraft. Exception: Hunters with disabilities who have been issued a DNR permit to take game from a standing vehicle may use a stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance.

Can I hunt migratory birds while my boat motor is running or while my boat is propelled by the wind?
No. You may not hunt from or by means of any motorboat, power boat or other craft having a motor attached, any sailboat or any floating craft or device of any kind propelled or towed by power or sail, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled and its progress ceased.

A craft under power may be used to retrieve dead or crippled birds; however, crippled birds may not be shot from such craft while under power or until forward progress has ceased. A loaded gun shall not be transported in an automobile, aircraft, motorboat or sailboat, motor bike, tractor, ORV, snowmobile or other motorized vehicle.

Can I drive, rally or chase migratory birds with my boat?

No. You may not drive, rally or chase birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put them in the range of hunters.

Can I hunt from a sinkbox?

No. You may not hunt from a sinkbox. (A sinkbox is a low, floating device with a depression, affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.)

Can I use live decoys to hunt migratory birds?

No, you may not use live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.

Can I use recorded or electronically amplified bird calls to hunt migratory birds?

No. You may not use recorded or electronically amplified bird calls, imitations of bird calls, bird sounds, or imitations of bird sounds. Use of electronically or mechanically operated decoys that do not produce bird sounds or calls is not prohibited.

Can I use bait to hunt migratory birds?

No. You may not hunt by baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any baited area where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is baited. Hunters should be aware that a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait. Nonfood imitations — for example, plastic corncobs — are not prohibited.

Where can I learn more about importing migratory birds hunted in other countries?

For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, you should consult 50 CFR 20.61 - 20.66 or contact Senior Resident Law Enforcement Agent, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 3800 Packard Road, Suite 160, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. One fully feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between a port of entry and one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required above), drawn, and the head and feet removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.

How many migratory birds can I possess or transport?

You may not possess or transport more than the daily limit of migratory birds at or between the place where taken and (1) your automobile or principal means of land transportation, or (2) your personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging, or (3) a commercial preservation facility, or a (4) post office or common carrier facility, whichever one you arrive at first.

How should I tag my birds if I want to leave them in the possession of another person? Do I need to leave a wing attached?
Your migratory birds may not be left in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information:

  • The hunter’s signature.
  • The hunter’s address.
  • The total number of birds involved by species.
  • The dates these birds were killed.
  • Current base or Sportcard license number.

No person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged. You may not transport any dressed or plucked bird unless one fully feathered wing is attached.

Can I ship migratory birds?

Yes. You may ship migratory game birds. The package must be marked on the outside with: (1) the name and address of the person sending the birds, (2) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent and (3) the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.

Can I hunt outside the hours open to hunting or hawking?

No. You cannot take migratory game birds except during the hours open to hunting and hawking. Reminder: During the hours closed to hunting, a hunter may not possess a firearm or bow and arrow unless the firearm is unloaded in the barrel and all arrows are placed in a quiver.

When I have reached the daily limit, can I take more birds?

No. You may not take or attempt to take in any one day more than one daily limit. Wounded birds reduced to possession should be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.

Do I have to try to track down birds that were wounded?

Yes. You may not kill or wound any migratory game bird without making a reasonable attempt to retrieve it and include it in your daily bag limit.

What are the rules for using decoys, blinds or raised platforms on public lands and waters?

  • You may not leave decoys set out between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. in waters of the Great Lakes and connecting waters and lakes wholly enclosed by publicly

    owned lands.

  • You may not erect or use a hunting blind on any public waters without permanently affixing to the exterior, in waterproof letters not less than 3 inches high, the name and address of the person who placed it there. Any unoccupied blind on the Great Lakes or Lake St. Clair may be used by the first person to occupy it each day.
  • You may not leave any hunting blind or part thereof anchored or affixed to the bottomlands of any public waters within the state of Michigan prior to Aug. 15 or later than Jan. 16.
  • You may not hunt waterfowl with a firearm from a raised platform except over submerged bottomlands. Blinds or platforms constructed over public waters must meet marking and removal requirements.
  • You may not use or occupy a blind on the waters of the state that does not comply with marking and placement requirements.
  • Contact the Plainwell DNR office (269-685-6851) regarding blind rules for Allegan County.

Can I hunt federal refuges?

You may not possess or carry a firearm or bow or hunt or kill any game during the open season for hunting and taking of migratory game birds on any national wildlife refuge when posted to prohibit unauthorized entry, except on that portion of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Wayne and Monroe counties on which duck or goose hunting is authorized by a daily hunting permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Caution: More restrictive regulations may apply to national wildlife refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on federal regulations, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, One Federal Dr., Fort Snelling, MN 55111; phone: 612-713-5320. Reference: Hunters should consult the actual federal regulations related to migratory game birds, which are located in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

Falconry Season

When is the falconry season, and which birds can I take using falconry?

Falconry is a permitted method of hunting migratory game birds. Rails, snipe, woodcock, geese, ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken during the established firearm seasons in the respective zones and goose management units. In addition, ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken statewide by falconry from Jan. 3-16, 2022 and Feb. 24 to March 10, 2022.

What are the bag and possession limits for falconry?

The daily limit is three birds of a single or combined species. Possession limit is nine birds.

Non-Toxic Shot Rules

Do I have to use nontoxic shot when waterfowl hunting?

Yes. Use of nontoxic shot is required statewide for all waterfowl hunting. When you hunt to take ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, moorhens, rails or snipe anywhere in Michigan, you may not possess or use shotshells loaded with a material other than nontoxic steel, bismuth, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten matrix or other shot determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
to be nontoxic. Waterfowl hunters using muzzleloaders must also use FWS- approved nontoxic shot. Shells loaded with lead shot may be used to hunt other small game species, including woodcock; however, we recommend using nontoxic shot for the hunting of all small game species. NOTE: Check area rules and the DNR website for nontoxic shot regulations for nonwaterfowl hunting on managed waterfowl areas.

Float Hunting

Can I enter private property while float hunting?

Hunting and trapping are exclusive rights of landowner(s) bordering the waterway and their invited guests. Float hunters need permission to enter lands protected by the Recreational Trespass Act. You may float-hunt public lands open to hunting.

Safety Zones Around Buildings

How far must I be from occupied dwellings to waterfowl hunt?

You must be at least 450 feet from an occupied building, dwelling, house, residence or cabin, or any barn or other building used in connection with a farm operation. To hunt within a safety zone, you must obtain the written permission of the owner, renter or occupant of the property.

Waterfowl Hunting Closures

Are there areas off-limits to waterfowl hunting?

Yes. Each are posted to alert hunters that they are off-limits to hunting:

  • In Grand Traverse County: Boardman Lake and those waters of the Boardman River lying north of Airport Road and south of the 8th Street Bridge are closed to waterfowl hunting.
  • In Roscommon County: Mud Lake, Lake St. Helen and the South Branch of the Au Sable River connecting these two lakes are closed to public waterfowl hunting.
  • There are also other closed areas in the state.

Identifying Ducks

Where can I learn more about identifying ducks?

Skill at identifying ducks in flight is important, especially because several duck species have special daily limit restrictions (see pages 6 and 7), and the early teal season allows only teal to be harvested (see page 10). Hunters are advised to practice waterfowl identification before the season begins to build identification skills. Visit Michigan.gov/Waterfowl for duck identification aids.

Leg-band Reporting

What should I do if I kill a bird with a leg band?

You can promote sound waterfowl management by promptly reporting all banded ducks and geese harvested, including date and location taken. This information is used to determine annual survival, migration routes and contribution to
state harvest from different breeding grounds. To report bands, go online to ReportBand.gov. Please note that even if the band you recover is inscribed with a 1-800 telephone number, you can only report it at ReportBand.gov.

Hunter Surveys

Is there a way for me to give feedback or provide information about my hunting season?
Yes. Some hunters are randomly selected each year to participate in state or federal harvest surveys, including collection of birds’ wings, tails and other body parts. Accurate and complete reporting is essential for biologists to estimate the annual harvest and impact of hunting. Please do your part to help manage waterfowl by responding to surveys. The knowledge gained permits selection of annual regulations that maximize hunting opportunities while perpetuating healthy waterfowl populations for future hunters.

Commercial Hunting Guides on Public Land

What do I need to do to guide waterfowl hunters on state-owned lands?

All commercial hunting guides utilizing state-owned lands must get written authorization. Guides are required to meet the conditions of the written authorization. If you are a guide who utilizes state-owned lands, please visit Michigan.gov/WildlifePermits or contact Casey Reitz at ReitzC@Michigan.gov or 517-284-6210 for more information.

What do I need to do to guide waterfowl hunters on national forest lands?

Commercial guiding on national forest (NF) lands requires a special use permit. Applications can be obtained through any U.S. Forest Service office or by calling: Hiawatha NF: 906-428-5800; Huron-Manistee NF: 231-775-5023; Ottawa NF: 906-932-1330.

Aquatic Invasive Species

How can I help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species?

Invasive plants and animals like phragmites, European frog-bit and zebra mussels can cause significant harm to wildlife habitat, reduce hunting opportunities and damage equipment.

Invasive species are often spread unintentionally. Microscopic organisms and aquatic vegetation readily attach to equipment, and without proper steps to remove them, they are unknowingly transported from one lake, river or wetland to another. To help prevent the spread of invasive species and protect waterfowl habitat, hunters should take the following precautions:

  • CLEAN equipment (including waders, decoys, anchors, boats and trailers) thoroughly between trips to keep from transporting undesirable plant fragments, seeds or organisms from one site to another.
  • DRAIN all water from boats, trailers and equipment.
  • DRY boats, gear and equipment for five days (if possible) before transporting to another body of water.
  • Switch to anchor designs that prevent aquatic plants from becoming attached.
  • Inspect all gear and equipment before and after use, including anchors, decoys and lines, blinds, waders and clothing. Remove any plants, animals or soils.
  • Do not use invasive phragmites (common reed) as part of a blind because it is a prohibited species in Michigan and illegal to possess without a permit.
  • Learn to identify common invasive species and report sightings to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network at MISIN.MSU.edu.

Additional information about invasive species can be found at Michigan.gov/ Invasives.

Dioxin Advisory Information

Should I be concerned about dioxin?

Health assessors from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Department of Natural Resources determined that samples of
wild game from the floodplains of the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River downstream of Midland contained high levels of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds. Wild game tested include deer, turkey, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, wood duck and Canada goose. As a result, the MDHHS advises that hunters and their families to follow these recommendations related to waterfowl:

  • The MDHHS recommends that you remove the skin of waterfowl before cooking and discard the liver and other internal organs.
  • MDHHS also recommends limiting duck consumption to two servings per month (provided that the skin is removed) and limiting goose consumption to four servings per month. A serving varies based on body weight – for example, a serving for a 180-pound individual is 8 ounces.

More information on wild game guidelines for the Saginaw and Tittabawassee River floodplains, including a map of the area covered by these guidelines, can be found in at Michigan.gov/EatSafeFish under Eat Safe Wild Game. For additional information regarding dioxin, dioxin-like compounds and wild game advisories for the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River floodplains, go to Michigan.gov/Dioxin.

General Precautions When Processing Waterfowl

What are the precautions I should take when processing waterfowl?

  • Harvest only waterfowl that act and look healthy.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling carcasses.
  • Wear gloves while processing waterfowl.
  • Remove and discard intestines soon after harvesting and avoid direct contact with the intestinal contents.
  • Wash hands, utensils and work surfaces before and after handling any meat.
  • Keep waterfowl cool (either with ice or refrigeration), below 45 degrees, until processed, then refrigerate or freeze.
  • Cook waterfowl to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Commercial Processor Registration

How do I become a commercial processor?

Commercial processors who accept wild game for processing and storage are now required to register with the DNR. Registration is free. To register, visit Michigan. gov/WildlifePermits.

Poachers Beware: Hunters are Watching

What are the consequences of poaching?

Violations of waterfowl hunting regulations are misdemeanors that may be punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment and up to $500 in fines per animal.

How do I report suspected poaching?

If you witness a natural resource violation, report it immediately. You can do this by texting or calling 800-292-7800. Phone lines are open 24/7. You may remain anonymous.