Upcoming Small Game Seasons: Ducks and Canada Geese

Canada Geese by G. Sanders

Small game season in Michigan will be opening in the next couple of days and what will you be hunting? Though the seasons are somewhat staggered by species, within the next few weeks there will be many opportunities to hunt the small game of your choice. If you have any last minute preparations to make, now is the time to get those out of the way so you can take full advantage of the upcoming season.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released a forecast describing what is to be expected during the upcoming small game seasons. Though overall what is anticipated is much the same as the previous year, below is a further break down of the first seasons to open this year, those being ducks and Canada geese.

Duck season is broken down into several stages, the first of which is the early season for teal only. This portion will run from September 1st-7th. Next up will be the youth season running from the 12th-13th. Finally the regular season will run from September 26th-November 22nd and November 28-29th in the North Zone, October 3rd-November 29th and December 12th-13th in the Middle Zone, and then October 10th-December 6th and December 26th-27 in the South Zone. Possession limit is two day’s bag limit and daily bag limits for ducks are as follows:

Six per day with no more than four being mallards, two of which can be hens
Five additional mergansers (only two hooded)
Three scaup/bluebills
Three wood ducks
Two pintails
Two canvasbacks
Two red heads
One black duck

Expect high numbers of ducks, especially mallards which are currently the highest on record. Diving ducks and canvasback numbers are expected to be good as well. Around 42,000 hunters will soon be out in the field hunting duck and seeing this for themselves.

Canada Geese will be available for hunting beginning with the early season starting on September 1st and ending on the 15th in Upper Peninsula and Saginaw. In Huron and Tuscola counties it will be the 1st through 10th instead. During these times, a bag limit of five will be allowed. Regular goose seasons are as follows: September 11th-December 11th in the North Zone, September 19th-December 19th in the Middle Zone, and September 19th-27th as well as October 10th–December 6th, and December 26th-27th in the South Zone. Do take note that some designated goose management units (GMUs) may vary, such as: Saginaw County and Tuscola/Huron GMU dates are September 19th-27th, October 10th–December 6th, and December 26th–January 19th. In the Allegan County GMU, dates will be October 31st-January 30th. The Muskegon Wastewater GMU dates are October 17th-November 14th and December 1st-22nd. For all of these, the bag limit is two. In the South Zone there will be a late goose season (GMUs excluded) from January 23rd-February 14th during which there will be a bag limit of 5 per day. Though migratory numbers are down, Canada goose populations as a whole are high.

With the forecasted numbers of ducks in geese on the rise, it is looking like a plentiful season awaits. Waterfowlers should be able to harvest a variety of ducks and geese should they desire throughout the lengthy season. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy!

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