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Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area

Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area
Phone:

989-697-5101

dnr-wildlife@michigan.gov

Hours of Operation

Open at no charge to the public.

This hunting location conducts daily drawings for free hunting zone permits throughout the open waterfowl season.

Description of the area

Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area is located three miles north of Linwood, Michigan. Situated on the western shore of Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay, it consists of 1,505 acres. It is unique in that the harvest of dabbling and diving ducks along with Canada geese is possible. Nayanquing Point's viewing tower provides premier opportunities to witness numerous bird species during their migration. Despite its small size tens of thousands of ducks, swans, geese, wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds migrate through Nayanquing Point each fall and spring.

PDF map of area

Hunting Information

  • 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)

Activities

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Birding
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Biking
  • Jogging
Coming soon.

Weekly waterfowl count dashboards

Weekly waterfowl counts are conducted annually, September through January. Use these interactive dashboards to view waterfowl counts across the Wetland Wonders for current and previous years. When the dashboard loads, you will have a total count of the Michigan DNR's Managed Waterfowl Hunt Areas (MWHA) for which counts are provided. The pie charts will show distribution across the areas during the currently selected week (week ending date can be changed using the date selector). Select a specific managed area at the top by clicking/tapping on it to see the numbers for that area. Use the navigation at the bottom of the dashboard to view further breakdowns of area waterfowl numbers.

2022 waterfowl counts

2021 waterfowl counts

2020 waterfowl counts

2019 waterfowl counts

2018 waterfowl counts

2017 waterfowl counts

2016 waterfowl counts

Table of contents

2021 annual report

General introduction

One of Michigan’s Seven Wetland Wonders, the Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (NPSWA) is located 3 miles north of Linwood, on the western shore of Saginaw Bay in Bay County, Michigan. This 1,505-acre wildlife area consists of four impounded agricultural units totaling 612 acres, six impounded marsh units totaling 747 acres, and 146 acres of wetlands and associated uplands, 9 acres of which are coastal marsh. The area is divided into 398 acres of seasonal refuge (Sept. 1- Jan. 1), 961 acres of permit-only hunting area, 144 acres that are open to hunting without a permit, and 2 acres that are posted as a safety zone.

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Area goals and management emphasis

The goals of the NPSWA are to improve and preserve vital wetland habitat; provide a refuge and food supply for migrating waterfowl; to provide managed hunting opportunities for waterfowl hunters; to provide hunting opportunities for other wildlife species when possible; and to provide non-hunting wildlife-related recreational opportunities.

The NPSWA, a managed waterfowl hunt area check station, is a site with considerable public contact. The operation of this check station is important in providing high-quality recreational experiences and creating positive public interactions with the DNR. Waterfowl abundance and harvest data that are collected at managed area check stations also provide information on harvest and migration timing across the southern portion of the state. This information is important for annual waterfowl hunting regulation discussions.

The operation of managed waterfowl area check stations is identified as a high priority action for the Wildlife Division and meets the following Guiding Principles and Strategies (GPS) goals and objectives:

Goal 1: Manage for healthy and sustainable wildlife populations.

  1. Develop and revise management plans and guidance for priority game species and focal species of greatest conservation need.
  2. Conduct research to address priority management needs.
  3. Monitor and sustain the health of wildlife populations.
  4. Develop, recommend, and implement policies and regulations to manage wildlife and human-wildlife
    interactions.

Goal 2: Protect, manage, and enhance lands for sustainable wildlife populations and wildlife-compatible recreation.

  1. Develop and revise management plans and guidance for priority habitats.
  2. Implement habitat management for priority species and habitats on public and private lands.
  3. Conduct research and monitoring to improve management of wildlife habitats.
  4. Maintain and develop public access and habitat management infrastructure for wildlife-compatible recreation and habitat management purposes.
  5. Administer and protect Wildlife Division-managed lands for their primary purpose of wildlife, habitat management and wildlife-compatible recreation.
  6. Align land portfolio with department and Wildlife Division priorities and goals.

Goal 3: Connect people to wildlife, wildlife-compatible recreation, and public lands.

  1. Design and implement innovative education and outreach strategies.
  2. Foster and promote diverse, equitable and inclusive external engagement and relationships to implement Wildlife Division goals.
  3. Diversify opportunities for people to engage in wildlife-compatible recreation, including hunting and trapping, on public and private lands.
  4. Increase public understanding of human-wildlife interactions while promoting positive outcomes.

Goal 4: Provide, manage, and align a diverse set of resources to support division priorities.

  1. Foster an inclusive and trusting environment within the Wildlife Division and across the department through effective internal engagement and relationship building.
  2. Provide and maintain effective work assets and business support tools.
  3. Support the Wildlife Division through effective administration and strategic funding of programs.
  4. Develop and implement systems that lead to continuous improvement in how we work.
  5. Promote a forward-thinking workforce through inclusionary hiring practices and professional development.

The goals of managed waterfowl area check station operations are focused on the ability to achieve high quality hunting experiences for the hunting public. Due to COVID-19 precautions, opportunities for interactions with the public were kept to a minimum. However, the collection of important harvest and hunter-activity data, and the ability to continue to conduct weekly waterfowl abundance surveys, allowed us to achieve these goals.

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Wildlife production and use estimates

Weather and habitat conditions in the spring and summer months were nearly perfect. High temperatures ranged from 56-90 degrees with lows ranging 44-70 degrees. Despite the range in temperature, precipitation, and high Great Lakes water levels, crop production was good to excellent in all fields. Because the previous winter and growing season were below average in precipitation, staff were able to begin field work almost a month earlier than previous years. Several areas that were traditionally too wet to access in the spring were prepared and planted this year.

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Significant habitat management

Since 2014, water levels in the Lake Michigan-Huron basin have increased, reversing the low water trend that preceded it. The traditional month for flooding at NPSWA has been September, however we began gravity flooding in August to prepare for the early goose and teal seasons.

Fall flooding began the last week in August in both the refuge, south field, and north field to stage birds early for the September teal season. Flooding continued slowly until mid-October. A gradual schedule was set in place to ensure that the refuge was completely flooded before the opening weekend and that 90% of the cropped areas were flooded for opening weekend. All the marsh units were slightly higher than last year due to unstable high-water conditions; several large breaches in the east marsh sand barrier were highly noticeable by the end of the waterfowl season and resulted in this unit largely fluctuating with Saginaw Bay water levels.

To maintain crop health, we shift all hunting and buffer strips of corn every three years. This year marks the last year that corn would be planted on both sides of the “motor ditch.” NPSWA staff planted 90 acres of corn across the area starting on May 25th and finishing on May 27th. Some replanting occurred in the north and south fields on June 14th. Small grains planting began June 17th with a millet/milo mix in the south field and refuge which totaled 47 acres. Buckwheat planting began on June 23rd and was completed on July 6th with a total of 105 acres.

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Land acquisition

No land was acquired at the NPSWA in 2021.

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Area maintenance

  • Approximately 6 miles of brush mowing on dikes and adjacent ditch systems was completed with a Kobelco 220 excavator and Fecon masticator head attachment.
  • Mowed brush to expand C field parking lot with Kobelco 220 excavator and Fecon masticator head attachment.
  • Large rock and gravel was added to C field parking lot expansion.
  • Prescribed burns were completed on switchgrass stands in the south and north fields to remove thatch, stimulate growth, and set back willow encroachment.
  • Dredging on the north supply channel inlet from the bay was needed again this year due to storm damage and wind driven erosion of the shoreline during the spring.
  • Dredged approximately 500 yards of interior field ditch in south field to aid water management and hunter access.
  • South field interior boat launch was repaired.
  • Completed several dike resurfacing repairs including patching holes/leaks on the south and middle field and triangle marsh were completed late in the summer.
  • The east triangle marsh spillway was repaired.
  • The west triangle marsh dike breech was repaired and armored.
  • Minor repairs occurred on Mallard Rd again this season, including additional aggregate and riprap for the low head dike around the tower parking lot.
  • Approximately 40 acres of willow was mowed in the winter along dike sides across the area with a Fecon mulching head and excavator; additional willow areas were treated with herbicide.
  • The boat launch to the bay at the observation tower repaired.
  • The large washout due to storm events at the tower was repaired.
  • Several gates across the area were replaced or repaired.
  • The northwest corner of refuge was mowed and sprayed to add to crop rotation for improved food resources.
  • Approximately 100 acres of brush and RCG/Phragmites was treated with herbicide across the area.

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Equipment

No equipment was purchased at the NPSWA in 2021.

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Special projects

The Wildlife Division partnered with Pheasants Forever and several community partners (e.g., Bay Area Community Foundation) on a DNR Habitat Grant in 2020 that funded contract brush removal and a follow-up herbicide treatment on the NPSWA satellite parcel commonly referred to as Townline 16. The goal of this project is to reclaim a diverse switchgrass grassland that was being overtaken by invasive autumn olive. While major fieldwork has been completed, an informational kiosk remains to be installed at the location.

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Recreational and educational activities

Bird watching is the major recreational activity at NPSWA, surpassing even the number of hunting trips, with thousands of people from all over the United States and Canada visiting the wildlife area throughout the year. NPSWA is also an important stopping point along the popular Saginaw Bay Birding Trail.

The federal youth and veteran’s waterfowl hunt weekend was held September 18-19, 2021, through a self-serve registration process. A total of ninety-two hunters harvested 177 ducks.

An early teal season occurred statewide from September 1-16th. This season ran concurrently with the opening two weeks of the early goose season. This year was extremely disappointing for NPSWA compared to last year’s success; several zones on the area were flooded specifically for the teal season and a few hunters took advantage of getting in the field for these opportunities. One hundred ninety hunter trips harvested 73 teal and 11 geese.

Due to COVID-19, no formal events were held for the traditional spring and fall open houses or youth hunt events. A fall self-guided tour of the area was held with staff available outside of the check station to answer questions.

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Trapping

For the 2020-21 trapping season, five out of the seven permits issued were used at NPSWA and nine out of thirteen for Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area (WBSWA). 

Trapping harvest at NPSWA, 2010-2021
Season Permits Issued Permits Used Muskrat Beaver Mink Otter Raccoon Weasel Opossum
2020-21 7 5 1,141 18 10 0 0 0 0
2019-20 4 3 486 3 6 0 0 3 0
2018-19 3 2 879 11 19 0 2 6 0
2017-18 6 3 603 11 6 0 0 2 0
2016-17 8 3 383 0 3 0 4 3 0
2015-16 8 4 383 1 9 0 1 0 0
2014-15 10 6 559 0 23 0 7 0 1
2013-14 17 9 673 4 9 1 6 2 11
2012-13 12 3 413 5 21 0 13 0 0
2011-12 12 3 571 4 16 0 6 2 0
2010-11 12 6 417 2 7 0 0 4 0
TOTAL 99 47 6,508 59 129 1 39 22 12

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Waterfowl banding and surveys

A total of 34 wood ducks were banded in 2021.

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Hunting season report

Introduction

The 2021-22 waterfowl season was the 46th season of managed waterfowl hunting at NPSWA. This season marks the return to the Middle Zone designation for NPSWA after spending 25 years in the South Zone. The NPSWA offers both flooded cropland and marsh hunting opportunities. There are 25 cornfield zones and 3 marsh units managed for either singles or parties.

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Weather and habitat conditions

September temperatures were mild with little rain and light winds leading up to and through the first half of October. October temperatures were warm with below average precipitation. The first cold snap was October 30th with 37 degrees for the high. The first peak refuge count was during the last week in October with a second peak occurring two weeks later. The following week bird numbers decreased by 50%. This year, with little to no ice, hunting continued until the end of the season, which is not typical for NPSWA.

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Migration and waterfowl numbers

Increased numbers of wood ducks and mallards were observed in the refuge and along the Saginaw Bay shoreline along NPSWA beginning in August, however, fewer numbers of blue- and green-winged teal were present. Waterfowl staging in the refuge started earlier this year as flooding was initiated earlier to anticipate the early teal, youth and veteran’s hunt, and Middle Zone opener. Fewer mallards overall were observed than in the past, possibly arriving slightly later in the season. The cropped refuge, which also included a variety moist-soil plants, provided a loafing area that was attractive to several waterfowl species. Diver ducks remained scattered throughout the Saginaw Bay area early November and were scarcely visible inside the refuge area.

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Season dates and area regulations

  • Ducks
    • Early teal
      • Sept. 1-16
      • Limit: 6
    • Youth/veteran's
      • Sept. 18-19
      • Limit: 6
    • Regular season
      • Oct. 2 - Nov. 28 and Dec. 11-12
      • Limit: 6
  • Goose
    • Early and regular season (concurrent)
      • Sept. 1 - Dec. 16
      • Limit: 5

The daily limit for dark geese is a 5-bird aggregate daily bag, which is described on page 8 of the 2021 Waterfowl Hunting Digest; light goose seasons mirrored the dark goose season and had a daily bag limit of 20 birds.

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Hunting season results

Harvest and hunter use

NPSWA hosted 92 hunter trips with harvest totals of 177 ducks during the September 18-19th federal youth and veteran’s waterfowl hunt. NPSWA also held two youth priority draws during the regular waterfowl season with the first on opening day, October 2nd being a pre-registered afternoon hunt with 20 of the 35 parties participating. The second youth hunt was on October 16th with 15 parties registering for the afternoon hunt. This season, the managed waterfowl hunt areas also held a veteran’s priority morning and afternoon hunt on Thursday, November 11th (i.e., Veteran’s Day) in which 13 parties participated in the morning and 11 parties participated in the afternoon. Standby drawings were held for each hunt period on Veteran’s Day and days with youth priority hunts for parties without veterans, active-duty military personnel, or youth, respectively.

Weekly waterfowl harvest and hunter trips at NPSWA, 2021.
Date Ducks Geese Hunter Trips Cripples Ducks/Hunter Trip
9-1/9-16 73 11 190 16 0.38
09-17/9-30 N/A 15 17* 2 N/A
9-18/9-19 177 0 92 41 1.92
10-2/10-8 788 18 764 130 1.03
10-9/10-15 458 9 458 60 1
10-16/10-22 899 8 559 117 1.61
10-23/10-29 767 6 725 135 1.06
10-30/11-5 484 6 496 85 0.98
11-6/11-12 518 7 490 94 1.06
11-13/11-19 299 7 330 55 0.91
11-20/11-26 180 1 252 25 0.71
11-27/11-28 2 0 32 0 0.06
12-11/12-12 4 2 9 0 0.44
Totals 4,649 90 4,397 760 1.06

*Goose only hunter trips not included in total.

Permits and harvest

NPSWA conducted pre-registration for both the opening and second weekend of the 2021 waterfowl season. Both a morning and afternoon hunt were held for opening weekend only with 35 pre-registered parties for each hunt period. The Saturday opening weekend afternoon hunt was a youth preference hunt. Stand-by drawings were conducted for each pre-registered hunt to fill the remaining spots up to the 35 available spots. On Saturday morning 29 of 35 parties were present and a stand-by drawing with four parties was held. On Saturday afternoon 20 of 35 parties registered for drawing, with a stand-by of 1 youth party. On Sunday morning 30 of 35 parties and on Sunday afternoon 28 of 35 parties registered for the drawings with only 2 stand-by for the morning. For opening weekend, 357 hunters harvested 364 ducks and 8 geese across the four hunt periods, for a 1.02 duck/hunter trip ratio. The second weekend of pre-registered hunts were not well attended at NPSWA and did not fill the 35 available spots during the application period.

Species harvest

Mallard harvest was 41.6% of the total species harvest, followed by green-winged and blue-winged teal (21.3%), and wood duck (12.6%). Gadwall, blue-winged teal, redhead, and bufflehead all showed a noticeable decrease in harvest over last year (Table 8). Other notable changes included a substantial increase in pintail, wigeon, and ring-necked duck harvest over last year. Compared to the 10-year average, significant increases include wood duck (103.7%), pintail (76.2%), wigeon (58.7%), blue-winged teal (58%), and green-winged teal (45.3%). Goldeneye (78%), gadwall (31.1%), and redhead (26.4%) harvest were the only significant declines from the 10-year average.

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Management activities

In 2021, self-serve registration was implemented for all deer seasons except for one drawing for the muzzleloader deer season. This registration system seemed to work well with the only complaint being the lack of permits at any given time in the permit box. Since NPSWA moved to the Middle Zone for waterfowl hunting, no early October deer hunting occurred unless archery hunters were hunting the marsh units with limited permits available. From October 2nd through November 28th there were a total of 55 permits issued with only three deer harvested. For the muzzleloader, late antlerless, and late archery season December 3rd through January 1st, an additional 94 permits were issued with eight deer harvested.

In 2010, due to increasing deer numbers and associated crop damage to waterfowl hunting areas, it was decided that NPSWA conduct a managed deer hunt; this managed deer hunt by draw continued in 2021 but only for the muzzleloader season. The muzzleloader season in Zone 3 was open from December 3rd – 12th so only one drawing was held the day before with 23 permits issued and five deer were harvested. Hunters could harvest deer based on the licenses that they had available. The only area of NPSWA that remained closed for both the muzzleloader and the late antlerless season were the triangle marsh refuges.

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Recommendations

  • Continue to partner with Pheasants Forever, Michigan Duck Hunters Association, Michigan Audubon, Audubon Great Lakes, National Wild Turkey Federation, Great Lakes Sportsman’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy to implement area habitat goals.
  • Eliminate party preference for all hunts.
  • Continue to plant buffer strips of corn in the buckwheat fields between hunting zones in all fields.
  • Continue to provide a diversity of hunting conditions in the north field (e.g., dry land later in season, scramble, or early teal water management).
  • Continue to plant the refuge with a diversity of small grains (e.g., millet, barley, wheat) in strips going north to south as well as experimenting with moist-soil management when possible.
  • Continue with pre-registered hunts for opening weekend.
  • Research and evaluate the opportunity to place a universally accessible hunting blind on the area.
  • Continue to rotate corn every three years for overall crop health.
  • Continue to leave an opening on the west side of hunting strips for decoy placement.
  • Use the self-serve registration process for late deer seasons.
  • Convert marsh zones 27-30 into seasonal waterfowl refuge, continue to allow deer hunting.

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Volunteers and partners

Michigan Duck Hunters Association, Saginaw Bay Chapter: MDHA partners with NPSWA on various grants and participates in volunteer workdays on the area which include posting of area signage, tree removal, building of brush piles, picking up trash, building and preparing blinds for the hunting season, building and minor construction projects, parking lot maintenance and waterfowl banding activities. MDHA provides input on the management of NPSWA.

Ducks Unlimited: The Saginaw Bay DU chapter has been involved with several outreach events at NPSWA previously. This season due to covid-19 all outreach events were cancelled.

Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, Michigan Audubon, and Audubon Great Lakes continue to provide partner support for the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail, and grant-funded habitat work, respectively.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, Forest Resource Division, Parks and Recreation Division, and Law Enforcement Division all partner with NPSWA at various times on a myriad of projects. These partnerships include sharing of equipment, staff resources, and storage facilities.

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Economic benefits

NPSWA draws large numbers of hunters from across the state, greatly increasing the need of goods and services provided by local vendors. After visiting several of the local businesses, all indicated that NPSWA, or maybe the waterfowl hunting season in general, provided a positive economic impact on their businesses.

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  • 11/11/2022 - Veterans preference drawing