Skip to main content

Joint State-Federal Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

No person shall take or attempt to take migratory game birds (including woodcock):

  • With a trap, snare, net, swivel gun, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With any firearm except a 10-gauge or smaller shotgun capable of holding no more than three shells. Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells shall 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.
  • With the use of any single-projectile shotshell. Bows and arrows, including crossbows, are legal for waterfowl hunting.
  • By the use or possession of more than one gun for each person in the hunting party.
  • From, or with the aid or use of, a car or other motor-driven land conveyance or aircraft, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs 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. "Paraplegic" means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs, usually due to disease of or injury to the spinal cord.
  • 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.
  • By driving, rallying or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put them in the range of hunters.
  • From a sinkbox. (A sinkbox is a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.)
  • By the use or aid of 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.
  • By the use or aid of 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.
  • By the aid of 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. Non-food imitations - for example, plastic corncobs - are not prohibited.

For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 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.

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 post office or common carrier facility, whichever one you arrive at first.

No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or 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 such birds were killed.
  • Current small game or sportsperson 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.

No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is 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.

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

No person shall take or attempt to take in any one day more than one daily limit.

Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.

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.


  • 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 three 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.

You may not possess or carry firearms or bow and arrow 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 on which goose hunting is authorized by a daily hunting permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on federal regulations, contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, One Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 55111, 612-713-5320.

Violation of state migratory bird regulations is also a violation of federal regulations.

Hunters should consult the actual federal regulations related to migratory game birds, which are located in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.