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Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area

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 on the western shore of Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay in Bay County. This 1,505- acre wildlife area is an important area for migratory birds and wetland wildlife species and provides high quality diverse habitat for a variety of recreational opportunities. The viewing platform located at the end of Kitchen Road provides premier opportunities to witness numerous bird species throughout the migration seasons. Despite its small size tens of thousands of ducks, swans, geese, wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds migrate through Nayanquing Point SWA 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)
  • Managed deer hunts (muzzleloading) begin following the last day of the regular waterfowl season
  • Late season deer hunts available by permit only.


  • Wildlife viewing
  • Birding
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Trapping
  • Kayaking

Week in review

Through 12/11/2023


Temperatures remained above average this week, yet again. Temps started out in the upper 30s and ended the week in the upper 50s to near 60 during the day. Night–time lows stayed in the upper 20s and low 30s. Weather overall was rather quiet this week, with zero precipitation. Winds remained on the stronger side staying above 10mph most of the week, gusty winds ushered in the warm air towards the end of the week.

Waterfowl abundance

Very few ducks and geese are visible in the refuge marshes. All the cropped fields are drained.

Hunting conditions

North Field Zones (2-9)

2–3 = 6–8’ tall; water 6–8” mostly in 3
4–6 = 7–8’ tall; zone 5 has spotty corn on east side; water 5–9”
7 = 3–5’ tall; very little corn on east side of zone; water up to 13”
8–9 = 3’ tall; deer, crane, and goose damage, two blinds; water up to 14”

Middle Field Zones (10-20)

10–12 = 7–8’ tall; south end of zone 12 is sparse; water 4–10” with 10 the lowest
13–15 = 6–7’ tall; slight crop damage; water 6–12” with 13 the lowest
16–18 = 7–8’ tall; east side of zones are sparse; water 8–14” with 16 the lowest
19–20 = 7–8’ tall; slight amount of damage; water 10–18”

South Field Zones (21-26)

21–22 = 5–7’ tall; slight amount of damage; water 6–10” with 21 the lowest
23 = 6–7’ tall; water 4–10”
24 = 3–4’ tall; extensive goose damage on south end, blind; water 12”
25 = 6–7’ tall; water 3–8”
26 = 3–4’ tall; extensive goose damage on south end, blind; water 8–12”


Water levels are like 2022 in north and south marshes, east marsh water levels are on the rise due to the repairs to the south dike this summer.

Hunter numbers

During the final days of the middle zone waterfowl season there were no hunters. For the muzzleloading managed deer hunt drawing there were 25 permits issued for the area excluding the refuge.

Waterfowl harvest

No birds were harvested for the last weekend (Saturday – Sunday). The running totals through opening week (Saturday–Friday) including teal, goose and youth/vets hunt weekend are 3,081 ducks and 93 geese harvested by 3,408 hunter trips, for an average of 0.90 ducks/trip.

What to expect this week

Temperatures are now looking to trend below normal, if this holds true and winds are light much of the area will be iced over. Daytime highs mid–week struggle to get above freezing. Snow is in the forecast several days as well. Nighttime lows are forecasted to dip into the upper teens some nights. Winds are expected to be rather strong; this may help prevent ice up. Primary wind direction appears to be W – NW.

Drawings will be held outdoors, only the party leader for each hunting party will interact with check station staff to register and select hunting zones. We will not be checking licenses or selling licenses at registration so please be sure you have all your licenses before coming to the draw. The MWHA rules, procedures and draw order will be announced via FM radio on local broadcast at 107.1 FM. Party leaders will come into the building to pick their zones once the draw order is announced.

Upcoming events

  • Self-serve permits will be available for the late waterfowl two day split on December 16–17th.
  • Self–serve permits will be available for the late firearm antlerless deer season from December 11–January 1st.

Other comments

  • N/A

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.

2023 waterfowl counts

2022 waterfowl counts

2021 waterfowl counts

2020 waterfowl counts

2019 waterfowl counts

2018 waterfowl counts

2017 waterfowl counts

2016 waterfowl counts

Table of contents

2022 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

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

Habitat conditions going into the spring and summer months were nearly perfect across the area. Weather conditions were on the colder side throughout the spring with highs in the 40’s. Rain events seemed to occur every few days throughout the month of April. After the below average temperatures in April, May temperatures ranged from 55-90 degrees during the day and 45-68 degrees at night. Despite the curve balls thrown by Michigan’s weather, cropping occurred during the normal range across the area, even though field work began a month later in 2021.

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Significant habitat management

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 lower than last year due to unstable 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 have shifted all hunting and buffer strips of corn every three years. Due to a slightly later start this year we decided not to make the shift. This is the 4th year that corn was planted on both sides of the “motor ditch.” NPSWA staff planted 94.5 total acres of corn across the area starting on June 10th and finishing on June 15th. Some replanting occurred across all fields on June 27th. Small grains planting began June 27th with a small 3.6-acre plot of forage soybeans in the middle field. Buckwheat planting began on June 30th and was completed on July 29th with a total of 135 acres.

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Land acquisition

No land was acquired at the NPSWA in 2022.

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Area maintenance

  • Large rock and gravel were added to C field parking lot expansion.
  • 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.
  • South field interior boat launch was repaired.
  • Completed several dike resurfacing repairs including patching holes/leaks on the north, middle, cropped refuge and east triangle.
  • The west triangle marsh dike breech was repaired and armored.
  • 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 resources.
  • Approximately 100 acres of brush and RCG/Phragmites was treated with herbicide across the area.
  • Repairs were made and aggregate was added to the east marsh boat launch in the middle field parking lot.
  • Approximately 1000 feet of the south refuge dike was strengthened, and gravel was added to the top.
  • A compromised tube and gate structure was removed from the south end of the south refuge.
  • Approximately 4 acres in the southwest corner of the middle field was treated and planted to soybeans this year which was the beginning phase of creating a pollinator plot in that location.
  • An updated enclosed self-registration kiosk was added to the west side of the headquarters building.
  • Additional storage areas were added to the headquarters building shop area.
  • 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.

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Equipment purchased

  • Frontier SB3107 Sickle bar mower
  • Marsh Master MM2 with trailer, sprayer, mower, and roller-chopper

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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 17-18, 2022, through the draw process, with a morning and afternoon registration and drawing. A total of 72 hunter trips harvested 47 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 average for NPSWA; 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. A total of 195 hunter trips harvested 149 teal and 29 geese.

This year a return to the traditional fall open house was held on October 4th. Area staff were available to provide information about field conditions and procedures for the draw. A driving tour of the area also occurred.
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For the 2021-22 trapping season, five out of the six permits issued were used at NPSWA and eleven out of twelve for Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area (WBSWA).

Trapping harvest at NPSWA, 2010-2022
Season Permits Issued Permits Used Muskrat Beaver Mink Otter Raccoon Weasel Opossum
2021-22 6 5 1,115 0 9 0 1 0 0
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 81 43 6,252 53 115 1 34 16 12

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Waterfowl banding and surveys

No banding to report for 2022.

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Hunting season report


The following bulleted list was provided to the MWHA’s as a guideline for operations during the 2022 waterfowl season. Specifically, NPSWA was able to conduct both morning and afternoon drawings throughout the season, with the first two weekends being pre-registered with stand-by drawings. NPSWA conducted drawings outdoors with registration occurring through the front window. Once the party leader received a registration card, they were able to return to their vehicle and listen to the draw instructions and order over an FM transmitter. Hunters were able to choose their spot inside the check station five party leaders at a time.

  • Only the party leader will interact with staff (e.g., registers and selects hunting zone).
  • Once all parties have registered, party leaders will wait outside in the parking area and a public-address system (PA) or megaphone will be used to make announcements and announce the results of the draw.
  • Outdoor portable toilets will be provided and will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Checking hunters’ licenses upon registration will be eliminated and instead, hunters will be notified of the required licenses.
  • Designation of individual and party hunting zones will be eliminated to simplify the hunting zone selection (e.g., all zones will be available in the draw regardless of party size).
  • To minimize contact with the public, switching zones after the draw will not be allowed.
  • To minimize contact with the public, adding hunters to a party after the draw will not be allowed.
  • Bag checks will be eliminated. Hunters will be instructed to fill out and return permit cards to a drop box.
  • Sales of licenses in the check stations will be eliminated.
  • Sales of merchandise in the check station will be eliminated.
  • Snacks (e.g., coffee, donuts) for sale or for free in the check station will be eliminated.
  • If any of the areas experience low attendance at draws, (e.g., < 15 parties for a 5-day period), there will be a switch to a self-registration system. This is like past guidance that, with the approval of the Regional Supervisor, normal managed area drawings may be cancelled if extreme weather results in low hunter participation. Area managers will post amended check station hunting rules a minimum of two days prior to any changes, and changes will be communicated online.

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Weather and habitat conditions

September temperatures started off very mild with a stable and uneventful weather pattern was in place over the Saginaw Bay region. A cold front mid-September brought north winds and colder temperatures along with some precipitation to the area which aided in hunting efforts for teal. Temperatures moderated to end the month back into the 70–80-degree range. Temperatures in October were a rollercoaster, starting the month off in the 70’s. Opening weekend the weather was very favorable for waterfowl hunting with highs in the low 50’s and strong winds. Temperatures moderated the third week of October back into the 70’s, this up and down temperature trend continued into the last week of October and first week of November with record high occurring. Just prior to the November 15th opener of the firearm deer season, colder temperatures and snow finally arrived in the area. Several days were lost to ice toward the end of the season.

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Migration and waterfowl numbers

A greater diversity of puddle duck species was noted earlier in the season with large numbers of wigeon and pintail present in the refuge, although their numbers are not directly reflected in the harvest. Larger numbers of green-winged teal were also present in the refuge areas during the latter half of October. The peak refuge count occurred during the middle of October which was slightly earlier than a normal season. Mallard and black duck observations were down throughout the season. Those species became the primary makeup of the refuge count as we moved towards the end of the season. Diver species were noted sporadically throughout the season on the area, with high wind days forcing divers to take shelter within the diked impoundments at the NPSWA. It is worth noting that diver numbers along the western Saginaw Bay seem to be much less prevalent and consistent than in years past. Ice was of little concern this season and only provided an issue during the last 10 days of season, hunter effort was still noted across the area, but the mass of the migration had already moved south.

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Season dates and area regulations

  • Ducks
    • Early teal
      • Sept. 1-16
      • Limit: 6
    • Youth/veteran's
      • Sept. 17-18
      • Limit: 6
    • Regular season
      • Oct. 8 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 17-18
      • Limit: 6
  • Goose
    • Early and regular season 
      • Sept. 1 - Sept. 30 and Oct. 8 - Dec. 23
      • 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

The 2022 waterfowl season harvest totals were 4,240 ducks and 216 geese in 3,842 hunter trips for a 1.10 ducks per hunter trip average.

NPSWA hosted 72 hunter trips with harvest totals of 47 ducks during the September 17-18th 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 8th being a pre-registered afternoon hunt with 16 of the 30 parties participating. The second youth hunt was on October 22nd with 9 parties registering for the afternoon hunt. This season, the managed waterfowl hunt areas also held a veteran’s priority morning and afternoon hunt on Friday, November 11th (i.e., Veteran’s Day) in which 7 parties participated in both the morning and 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, 2022.
Date Ducks Geese Hunter Trips Cripples Ducks/Hunter Trip
9-1/9-16 149 29 195 14 0.76
09-17/9-30 N/A 61 31* N/A 1.97
9-17/9-18 47 0 72 19 0.65
10-8/10-14 1,427 67 856 202 1.67
10-15/10-21 809 13 736 118 1.10
10-22/10-28 406 13 480 70 0.85
10-29/11-4 420 3 384 52 1.09
11-5/11-11 619 9 524 89 1.18
11-12/11-18 271 17 376 36 0.72
11-19/11-25 38 0 90 4 0.42
11-26/12-2 52 4 114 7 0.46
12-3/12-4 2 0 15 1 0.13
12-17/12-18 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 4,240 216 3,842 612 1.10

*Goose only hunter trips not included in total.

Permits and harvest

NPSWA conducted pre-registration for both the opening and second weekend of the 2022 waterfowl season. Both a morning and afternoon hunt were held for opening weekend with 30 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 30 available spots. On Saturday morning 26 of 30 parties were present and a stand-by drawing with seven parties was held. On Saturday afternoon 16 of 30 parties registered for drawing, with a stand-by of three youth parties. On Sunday morning 25 of 30 parties and on Sunday afternoon 23 of 30 parties registered for the drawings with four and six stand-by parties, respectively. For opening weekend, 322 hunters harvested 627 ducks and 30 geese across the four hunt periods, for a 1.95 duck/hunter trip ratio. The second weekend of pre-registered hunts were not well attended at NPSWA and did not fill all 30 available spots during the application period. Drawing numbers for the pre-registered and stand-by drawings can be found in Appendix B.

Species harvest

Mallard harvest was 38.7% of the total species harvest, followed by green-winged and blue-winged teal (26.6%), and wood duck (8.1%). Gadwall, blue-winged teal, and ring-necked ducks all showed a noticeable increase in harvest over last year (Table 8). Other notable changes included a substantial decrease in wood duck, black duck, pintail, and scaup harvest over last year. Compared to the 10-year average, significant increases include wigeon (37.4%), green-winged teal (42.7%), shoveler (88.3%), ring-necked duck (89.5%), and blue-winged teal (119.5%). Scaup (26.4%) and black duck (37.8%) harvest were the only significant declines from the 10-year average.  

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Management activities

Beginning 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 for both the muzzleloading and late antlerless deer seasons. In 2022, self-serve registration was implemented for all deer seasons except for one drawing for the muzzleloading deer season. From October 1st through October 7th a total of 13 permits were issued and no deer were harvested. From October 8th through December 4th there were a total of 77 permits issued with only two deer harvested. The muzzleloader season in Zone 3 was open from December 2 – 11th only one drawing was held following the waterfowl season on December 4th with 23 permits issued and two deer were harvested. The only area of NPSWA that remained closed for the muzzleloader season was the cropped refuge and the triangle marsh refuges. The cropped refuge was opened for the late antlerless season beginning December 12th.

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  • 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.
  • 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 only, limit number of spots available.
  • 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.

Ducks Unlimited: The Saginaw Bay DU chapter has been involved with several outreach events at NPSWA in the past.

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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Get out and explore Michigan's Wetland Wonders, our managed waterfowl hunt areas, this fall. Held in early October, these open houses will give you a chance to talk with local staff, tour the areas and see what each one has to offer for the upcoming waterfowl season. 

  • Nayanquing Point (Bay County) – Oct. 3.

All open houses begin at 6 p.m. at the area's headquarters.