Waterfowl Hunting in Michigan: Seasons and Limits

North Zone

  • Ducks

    • Dates: Sept. 30 - Nov. 26 & Dec. 2-3
    • Daily Limit: 6
    • Possession Limit: 18
    • Notes: a, b
  • Coots

    • Dates: Sept. 30 - Nov. 26 & Dec. 2-3
    • Daily Limit: 15
    • Possession Limit: 45
    • Notes: b
  • Mergansers

    • Dates: Sept. 30 - Nov. 26 & Dec. 2-3
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: a, b
  • Dark Goose (Canada, Brant, White-fronted)

    • Dates: Sept. 1 - Dec. 16
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: c
  • Light Goose (Snow, Blue, Ross’s)

    • Dates: Sept. 1 - Dec. 16
    • Daily Limit: 20
    • Possession Limit: 60

Middle Zone

  • Ducks

    • Dates: Oct. 7 - Dec. 3 & Dec. 16-17
    • Daily Limit: 6
    • Possession Limit: 18
    • Notes: a, b
  • Coots

    • Dates: Oct. 7 - Dec. 3 & Dec. 16-17
    • Daily Limit: 15
    • Possession Limit: 45
    • Notes: b
  • Mergansers

    • Dates: Oct. 7 - Dec. 3 & Dec. 16-17
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: a, b
  • Dark Goose (Canada, Brant, White-fronted)

    • Dates: Sept. 1-30 & Oct. 7 - Dec. 22
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: c
  • Light Goose (Snow, Blue, Ross’s)

    • Dates: Sept. 1-30 & Oct. 7 - Dec. 22
    • Daily Limit: 20
    • Possession Limit: 60

South Zone

  • Ducks

    • Dates: Oct. 14 - Dec. 10 & Dec. 30-31
    • Daily Limit: 6
    • Possession Limit: 18
    • Notes: a, b
  • Coots

    • Dates: Oct. 14 - Dec. 10 & Dec. 30-31
    • Daily Limit: 15
    • Possession Limit: 45
    • Notes: b
  • Mergansers

    • Dates: Oct. 14 - Dec. 10 & Dec. 30-31
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: a, b
  • Dark Goose (Canada, Brant, White-fronted)

    • Dates: Sept. 1-30 & Oct. 14 - Dec. 10, Dec. 30 - Jan. 7 & Feb. 3-12
    • Daily Limit: 5
    • Possession Limit: 15
    • Notes: c, excluding some GMUs
  • Light Goose (Snow, Blue, Ross’s)

    • Dates: Sept. 1-30 & Oct. 14 - Dec. 10, Dec. 30 - Jan. 7 & Feb. 3-12
    • Daily Limit: 20
    • Possession Limit: 60
    • Excludes some GMUs

Statewide Seasons

  • Early Teal

    • Dates: Sept. 1-15
    • Daily Limit: 6
    • Possession Limit: 18
  • Wilson’s Snipe

    • Dates: Sept. 1 - Nov. 9
    • Daily Limit: 8
    • Possession Limit: 24
    • Notes: b
  • Virginia Rail and Sora Rail

    • Dates: Sept. 1 - Nov. 9
    • Daily Limit: 25
    • Possession Limit: 75
    • Notes: b
  • Common Gallinules

    • Dates: Sept. 1 - Nov. 9
    • Daily Limit: 1
    • Possession Limit: 3
    • Notes: b

Notes

  • a. Additional information in the "Possession limits for ducks, mergansers and geese" section.
  • b. Refer to "Veterans and Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days" section and "Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend" section for specific requirements.
  • c. Dark goose aggregate daily bag limit includes Canada geese, white-fronted geese, and brant. Only one brant per day is permitted.

Additional References

  • See "South Zone - local goose management units" section for specific GMU restrictions.

Michigan Waterfowl Hunting Season Dates

Daily and Possession Limits for Waterfowl in Michigan

Daily Bag Limits for Ducks and Mergansers

  • General Limit: 6 ducks per day of any species.
  • Species-Specific Limits:
    • Mallards: Up to 4 (maximum of 2 hens).
    • Wood Ducks: Up to 3.
    • Redheads: Up to 2.
    • Canvasbacks: Up to 2.
    • Black Ducks: Up to 2.
    • Pintail: 1.
    • Scaup: Varies by date and zone (refer to the scaup limits table below).
  • Mergansers: Additional 5 per day (only 2 may be hooded mergansers).

Possession Limits

  • General: Three times the daily limit for ducks and mergansers.

Scaup Limits by Zone and Dates

  • North Zone:
    • Sept. 30 – Nov. 13: Up to 2 scaup.
    • Nov. 14-26 & Dec. 2-3: Up to 1 scaup.
  • Middle Zone:
    • Oct. 7-22: Up to 1 scaup.
    • Oct. 23 – Dec. 3 & Dec. 16-17: Up to 2 scaup.
  • South Zone:
    • Oct. 14-29: Up to 1 scaup.
    • Oct. 30 – Dec. 10 & Dec. 30–31: Up to 2 scaup.

Daily Bag Limits for Dark Geese

  • Daily Limit: 5 aggregate for Canada, white-fronted (specklebellies), and brant geese.
  • Brant Specific: Only 1 brant included in daily limit.
  • Possession Limit: Three times the daily limit.

Daily Bag Limits for Light Geese

  • Daily Limit: 20 aggregate for snow, blue-phase snow, and Ross’s geese.
  • Possession Limit: Three times the daily limit.

Local Goose Management Unit Seasons and Limits

South Zone - Specific GMU Regulations:

Allegan County GMU

  • Dark Goose (Canada, brant, white-fronted) Season:

    • Sept. 1-30
    • Nov. 4-12
    • Nov. 25 – Dec. 3
    • Dec. 16 – Feb. 12
  • Dark Goose Limits:

    • Daily: 5 (aggregate limit; only 1 may be a brant)
    • Possession: 15
  • Light Goose (snow, blue, and Ross's) Season:

    • Same as Dark Goose dates
  • Light Goose Limits:

    • Daily: 20
    • Possession: 60

Muskegon County Wastewater System GMU

  • Dark Goose Season:

    • Oct. 17 – Dec. 23
  • Dark Goose Limits:

    • Daily: 5 (aggregate limit; only 1 may be a brant)
    • Possession: 15
  • Light Goose Season:

    • Same as Dark Goose dates
  • Light Goose Limits:

    • Daily: 20
    • Possession: 60

Fennville Farm Unit Hunting Regulations

  • Closed to Goose Hunting:
    • Sept. 1-30
    • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from Dec. 16 – Feb. 12
  • Open for Goose Hunting (Self-registration):
    • Nov. 4-12
    • Nov. 25 – Dec. 3
  • Open for Goose Hunting (Drawings):
    • Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays from Dec. 16 – Feb. 12
    • Drawings at 5:30 a.m., hunting from shooting time until 4 p.m.
    • Leftover zones reissued until 11 a.m.

For further details, refer to the Hunting seasons and bag limits section for each respective GMU.

Early Teal Hunting Season Details

Eligible Species

  • Huntable Teal: Only blue-winged and green-winged teal.

Identification Reminder

  • Skill Refresher Urged: Familiarize with duck species to ensure accurate targeting.
  • Target Certainty: Shoot only when the target species is positively identified.

Season Dates

  • Season Duration: September 1-15.
  • Location: Statewide coverage.

Bag and Possession Limits

  • Daily Bag Limit: Six teal.
  • Possession Limit: Eighteen teal.

Hunting Tips

  • Decoy Strategy: Utilize decoys to lure and identify teal.
  • Shooting Advice: Avoid pass shooting; wait for closer identification.
  • Habitat Preference:
    • Target shallow waters.
    • Seek out mud flats with minimal vegetation.
  • Locations to Avoid: Stay clear of forested wetlands to not mistake wood ducks for teal.

Hunting Hours

  • Legal Hunting Time: From sunrise until sunset.

Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas in Michigan

Overview of Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas

  • Also known as Wetland Wonders, these areas are prime locations in southern Michigan for premier waterfowl hunting and wildlife viewing.
  • Daily drawings for free hunting-zone permits are held throughout the season.

Recommended Equipment for Hunting in These Areas

  • Utilize waders, decoys, calls, retrievers, and small boats with motors for an optimal hunting experience.

Special Regulations Within Managed Areas

  • Enforced rules include limits on shells and shot sizes, as well as restrictions on the size of hunting parties.
  • Further details are available at Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders.

Drawings Cancellation and Reserved Hunts

  • Drawings may be canceled due to extreme weather affecting hunter turnout with notice provided at least two days in advance.
  • Check with area headquarters later in the season to confirm if drawings are taking place.
  • Some hunts, particularly during the opening weekend of duck season, are reserved and require prior application.

Contact Information and Hunt Schedules for Specific Areas

Fennville Farm (Allegan County, Fennville)

  • Phone: 269-561-2258
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Dec. 16 AM, Dec. 30 AM (nonreserved)
  • Morning Hunts: Wed, Sat, Sun (Dec. 16 – Feb. 12), drawing at 5:30 AM
  • Afternoon Hunts: None
  • Self-Registration: Available for goose (Nov. 4-12, Nov. 25 – Dec. 3) and duck hunting during South Zone duck season

Fish Point (Tuscola County, Unionville)

  • Phone: 989-674-2511
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 7 PM, Nov. 4 PM (reserved and nonreserved)
  • Morning/Afternoon Hunts: Daily, specific to reserved hunt weekends

Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center (Muskegon County, Twin Lake)

  • Phone: 231-788-5055
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 28 AM/PM (nonreserved)
  • Morning Hunts: Tue and Sat
  • Afternoon Hunts: Thu and Sat

Nayanquing Point (Bay County, Linwood)

  • Phone: 989-697-5101
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 7 PM, Oct. 28 PM (reserved and nonreserved)
  • Morning/Afternoon Hunts: Daily, specific to reserved hunt weekends

Pointe Mouillee (Wayne County, Rockwood)

  • Phone: 734-379-9692
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 14 PM, Nov. 5 AM (reserved and nonreserved)
  • Morning Hunts: Sun, Thu, and on specified dates
  • Afternoon Hunts: Sun, Tue, and on specified dates

Shiawassee River (Saginaw County, St. Charles)

  • Phone: 989-865-6211
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 14 PM, Nov. 4 PM (reserved and nonreserved)
  • Morning/Afternoon Hunts: Daily, specific to reserved hunt weekends

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

  • Phone: 810-748-9504
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 14 PM, Nov. 3 PM (reserved and nonreserved)
  • Morning/Afternoon Hunts: Daily, specific to reserved hunt weekends

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (Saginaw County, Saginaw)

  • Phone: 989-777-5930
  • Youth Hunting Dates: Oct. 28 AM (nonreserved)
  • Morning/Afternoon Hunts: Tue, Sat, Sun, and Thu
  • There will be no reserved hunt for the 2023 season at Shiawassee NWR.

For updated information and refuge-specific regulations, hunters should visit the applicable FWS refuge website or contact the area's headquarters.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend in Michigan

Dates and Eligibility

  • Youth Weekend: September 16-17, statewide.
  • Youth Age: Available for licensed youth hunters 16 years and under.

Licensing Requirements

  • Under 16 Years Old:
    • Base license, apprentice base license, or mentored youth license required.
  • 16 Years Old:
    • Base license, waterfowl license, and federal duck stamp required.

Accompaniment Rules for Youth Hunters

  • Ages 10-16:
    • Must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or adult 18+ designated by the parent/guardian.
  • Under 10 Years Old:
    • Accompanied by an adult 21+ adhering to Mentored Youth Hunting Program provisions.

Rules for Apprentice License Hunters

  • Apprentice License:
    • Accompanied by an adult 21+ with a non-apprentice base license and waterfowl license.

Harvesting During Youth Weekend

  • Species: Ducks, mergansers, geese, coots, and common gallinules.
  • Adult Participation: Adults cannot harvest these species unless hunting during the September Canada goose season.
  • Limits: Follow regular season daily limits and species restrictions.

Documentation for Veterans and Active-Duty U.S. Military Personnel

  • Required Documents: Military ID, related military paperwork, or Veterans Administration documentation.
  • Licenses Needed: Base license, waterfowl license, and federal duck stamp.
  • Harvesting: Same rules as regular waterfowl hunting season.

Veterans Preference Drawings

  • Drawing Dates: November 9 or 11, depending on location.
  • Eligible Personnel: Resident active-duty military and veterans.
  • Documentation: Military or Veterans Administration papers plus Michigan driver’s license or voter registration card.
  • Licensing: Same as regular waterfowl hunting.

Eligibility for Veterans Preference Drawing

  • Single Hunters: Must be active-duty military or a veteran.
  • Party Hunters: At least one active-duty military member or a veteran.
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