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Great waterfowl hunting opportunities continue in Michigan

The Department of Natural Resources reminds waterfowl hunters that they still have plenty of time to harvest ducks and geese in Michigan. The regular waterfowl season returns for two weekend hunts in December, and late goose season continues into February in one goose management unit (GMU) in Michigan.

The Middle Zone (northern Lower Michigan) will host a two-day continuation of the waterfowl season Dec. 17-18. The South Zone’s two-day continuation of the waterfowl season occurs Dec. 31-Jan. 1. All regular waterfowl season rules and regulations apply to these weekends.

The Muskegon County Wastewater System GMU will be open to late goose hunting until Dec. 20, with drawings for hunting zones on Tuesdays at 5:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. The Allegan County GMU is open to late goose hunting until Dec. 23 and then will reopen to hunting after the holidays from Dec. 26- Feb. 12. Drawings for hunting zones at the Fennville Farm Unit of Allegan State Game Area take place at 5:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Dec. 31, a 5:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. drawing will occur, with the afternoon hunt being a youth-only hunt.

While hunting these later dates, hunters can finish gathering those punches for the Consumers Energy-sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge at the DNR’s west-side Wetland Wonders – Muskegon Wastewater and Fennville Farm. The contest runs until Feb. 12, 2017.

Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties) and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County).

These areas provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities throughout the hunting season. Hunters wishing to hunt Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 at Fish Point, Harsens Island, Nayanquing Point, Pointe Mouillee or Shiawassee River are advised to call ahead. Drawings will be held only if conditions allow and if there is open water on the areas. There may be opportunity for self-registration. Validation of Wetland Wonder Challenge punch cards will occur only if drawings are held.

Seven lucky winners will be chosen to win ultimate waterfowl hunting prize packages valued at $1,500, including a “golden ticket” that’s good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2017-18 season (non-reserved), a 12-gauge waterfowl shotgun, Zink Calls custom duck and goose calls, Avian X mallard and goose decoys and more. Contest partners, Michigan United Conservation Clubs will select winners Feb. 27, 2017.

“With Consumers Energy’s generous support, we’ve been able to put together an exceptional prize package, so get out there and get your punches,” said Barb Avers, DNR waterfowl specialist. “There’s still plenty of opportunity to enjoy Michigan’s waterfowl hunting.”

When hunters register at any of the managed waterfowl hunt areas, they will receive an individual commemorative duck leg band for that area and a validation on their Wetland Wonders Challenge punch card (available at all managed waterfowl hunt areas). To be entered, participants must hunt at three of the seven southern Michigan Wetland Wonders and submit a punch card entry form. Hunters who hunt at more than three areas will receive an additional contest entry for each additional punch. Those who hunt all seven areas will automatically win a prize.

For more information on the managed waterfowl hunt areas (including location, drawing times, dates, and rules and regulations) and the Wetland Wonders Challenge contest (including terms and conditions), please visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.