Department of Natural Resources
Conditions for waterfowl hunting at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are looking great! There are a few things that hunters should be aware of for the 2018-19 duck hunting season.
For complete information about conditions at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, visit michigan.gov/wetlandwonders and click on “Weekly Manager’s Updates, Waterfowl Counts by Area and Annual Reports."
Michigan's Wetland Wonders include 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, scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula, created in the 1960s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities, are still managed today to provide habitat for waterfowl nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland-dependent wildlife. Since the beginning, these areas have been funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.
Our managed waterfowl hunt areas – or Wetland Wonders – will host open houses in October. Perfect for experienced waterfowl hunters and waterfowl hunters who may not have hunted these areas before, these open houses are a great way to meet the staff, take a driving tour of the area and learn how the managed hunt drawings work.
There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and familiarize yourself with these locations before the regular waterfowl season opens.
All open houses will start at 6 pm. Harsens Island's and Fish Point’s open houses are tonight, Oct. 10, and Pointe Mouillee's and Shiawassee River’s will be held tomorrow night, the Oct. 11.
Historically, hunt draws have occurred daily at the Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area. This year, drawings will happen Friday and Saturday mornings at 5:30 a.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 11 a.m. A morning draw also will occur on Thanksgiving Day.
No drawings will occur on Mondays and Wednesdays, but self-registration stations will be available at the Fennville Farm Unit Office for duck hunting outside drawing dates. Duck hunting is open during entire duck season by self-registration or through the drawing.
In early spring, elevated water levels and a strong wind event created heavy wave action, which eroded the center dike in the west refuge at Fish Point State Wildlife Area. Current water levels are lower than usual to reduce further erosion. Waterfowl numbers are likely to be lower than usual due to the lower water level.
Over the next several days, the staff will be adding roughly 6 more inches of water to the refuge before the start of the regular waterfowl season.
When the season ends, a drawdown will occur to reclaim eroded sediment and rebuild the center dike. This work will ensure that the refuge will be more prepared to cope with heavy wave action in the future.
A major dike repair project at Maple River State Game Area this fall may impact hunting opportunity in some parts of the game area, mainly Unit A. To make the needed repairs possible, Unit A on the west side of US 127 will have lower water levels during the upcoming duck season than most years. Unfortunately, due to the expiring nature of the funding for the repair project and bidding timelines, construction work will be ongoing for the first part of duck season.
The area is still open to hunting, but hunters should be aware of conditions in Unit A before planning a hunt there. Water levels in Unit A may not be suitable for all types of boats, but conditions should be adequate for walk-in hunting and smaller boats designed for shallow water.