Duck seasons are winding down in the state's South Zone, with little time left to hunt, while goose hunting is cranking up.
If the Michigan DNR's weekly waterfowl counts are any kind of an indication, water fowlers are in for good hunting at wildlife areas in this part of the state.
Here's a look at some of the best public spots available:
Fish Point SWA
This SWA offers some of Tuscola County's finest water fowling.
Fish Point runs between Quanicassee and Sebewaing. It covers a total of 3,631 acres of farm fields, prairies and wetlands.
The varied habitat draws in ducks and geese, providing shooters with a variety of terrain to set up in. Jump shooting and field hunting possibilities exist where walking in rather than boating can put birds in the bag.
A section of the SWA is protected as a wildlife refuge where no hunting or trespassing is allowed.
To reach Fish Point from Unionville follow M-25 west for 3 miles, turn north onto Ringle Road and drive another 3 miles.
For additional information call the Fish Point field office at (989) 674-2511.
Nayanquing Point SWA
This area is near Linwood right along the Saginaw Bay shoreline. Nayanquing Point covers 1,400 acres of coastal wetlands that are a real draw for migrant Canada geese and ducks.
Michigan DNR staff found mallards, blacks, woodies and teal arriving here as early as the second week in September.
Numbers nearly quadrupled the next week, and then increased almost another thousand birds the following week. During the first week of October counts showed an estimated 5,500 ducks.
Canada geese started arriving in late September and the numbers have been going up ever since.
To reach Nayanquing drive north from Linwood for 4 miles to Kitchen Road, then turn east and follow Kitchen Road to Tower Beach Road.
Call the Nayanquing Point field office at (989) 697-5101 for more information.
This area is in the middle of several nearby SGAs, but it's the one to target when the birds are moving in.
Tuscola SGA covers 8,400 acres and is located between Riley Road and M-46 near Cass City in Tuscola County.
Habitat varies and ducks and geese tend to utilize some sections of Tuscola while ignoring others, so pre-scouting is a good idea.
The Cass City field office at (989) 872-5300 can provide more information.
St. Clair Flats SWA
The St. Clair Flats, also known as the Harsens Island area, covers 87 acres. It's located 15 miles south of St. Clair.
The St. John's Marsh State Wildlife Area is adjacent to the St. Clair Flats unit and includes the Harsen's Island section as well, adding additional hunting spots.
Hunting pressure can be heavy due to the close proximity to metro Detroit.
Contact the St. Clair Flats field office at (810) 748-9504.
Pointe Mouillee SGA
This 3,000-acre marsh and open water area is located just a few miles south of Grosse Ile and 30 miles south of Detroit in Wayne and Monroe counties.
Urban-based hunters can take full advantage of this excellent waterfowl hot spot.
To reach the area from the metro area go south on I-75 to the South Huron River Drive exit.
Follow South Huron River Drive for 3 miles and turn right onto West Jefferson Avenue, then drive less than one-half mile to Sigler Road.
The Pointe Mouillee headquarters can be reached at (734) 379-9692.
The federal and state lands here are combined to create a vast 9,000-acre waterfowl paradise. The Shiawassee, Flint, Tittabawassee and Cass rivers dump water into the area to create huge marshlands.
Waterfowl numbers explode here in October and November, as many as 30,000 ducks and 25,000 geese will be on the area at any given time.
From Saginaw take M-13 south 5 miles then turn west onto Curtis Road. Drive another mile to the area headquarters.
Goose hunting is allowed, but a federal permit is required on federal property. A daily fee of $4 is charged.
Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (989) 777-5930 for details.
The Shiawassee field office can be reached at (989) 865-6211.
The Fish Point, Nayanquing Point, St. Clair Flats, Pointe Mouillee, Shiawassee River and Shiawassee refuges all have designated zone controlled hunts.
Daily drawings to hunt the designated zones are held at 5:30 a.m. for morning hunts and at 11:00 a.m. for afternoon hunts.
The Shiawassee federal lands offer only a morning hunt, drawn at 5:30 a.m. Pointe Mouillee offers open hunting on much of the area and issues permits on Opening Day, and only on Sundays and Wednesdays thereafter for the Managed Hunting Area.
In the South Zone, duck and merganser seasons run from Oct. 7 through Dec. 3 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1, 2007.
The daily bag limit is six ducks with no more than four mallards, only one being a hen, two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one pintail, one black duck and one canvasback.
In addition to the duck limit, hunters may harvest five mergansers, only two of which can be hooded. The possession limit is twice the daily limits.
Coots and moorhens have the same season dates as ducks but the daily bag limit is 15 birds with a possession of no more than 30.
The second Canada geese regular season for the Lower Peninsula is from Nov. 23 through Dec. 12 with a two-bird daily bag limit and four-bird possession limit.
There's also a Late Season/South Zone (excluding local GMUs) goose season that runs from Dec. 31 to Jan. 29. Snow, blue and Ross geese have a Sept. 23 through Dec. 14 season with a 10-bird daily bag and a 30-bird possession limit.
Areas within local goose management units have varying seasons and end when harvest quotas have been met. Check with local units before hunting. For example, the Saginaw County and Tuscola/Huron GMU seasons begin on Oct. 7 and end Nov. 25 with a one-bird daily bag limit and two-bird possession.
Brant and white-fronted geese have the same bag and possession limits. Other geese have a 10-bird daily bag and 30-bird possession limits.
For additional information contact wildlife managers at the Saginaw Bay Wildlife Manage-ment Unit at (989) 684-9141 or the Southeastern Wildlife Management Unit at (248) 359-9040.
Material from Fishing & Hunting News
published 24 times a year.
Visit them at www.fishingandhuntingnews.com.