Waterfowl hunting regulations approved|
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission today at its regular monthly
meeting, held in Crystal Falls, approved waterfowl hunting regulations
for the 2002-2003 season.
Department of Natural Resources staff presented the NRC with three
season options, based on a set number of hunting days for each species.
Ducks, geese and other migratory waterfowl are regulated by federal
authorities. Michigan is one of 14 states and three Canadian Provinces
within the Mississippi Flyway, and all states within the Flyway meet
annually with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to compare resident and
migratory bird populations and agree to harvest frameworks for each
"Michigan has the second-largest population of resident Giant Canada
Geese in the country," said DNR Wildlife Chief Becky Humphries. "Our
goal in setting goose season dates is the same as with any other
waterfowl species - to focus the hunting harvest on our resident animals
without taking a disproportionate number from the migrating flocks."
Goose hunters this year will enjoy an additional four days of goose
hunting, Sept. 16 to Oct. 6 in the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP)
Unit, which encompasses the northwest two-thirds of the state. The
Southern James Bay Population (SJBP) Unit will be similar to last year.
This unit encompasses the southeastern third of the Lower Peninsula.
Hunting will occur Sept. 16 through Oct. 6, plus Dec. 14-22. Early and
late goose seasons will be similar to last year.
The USFWS will allow a 30-day season on pintails and no season for
canvasback ducks this year.
The pintail season will be the first 30 days of the duck season. In
response to interest expressed by waterfowl hunters, hunting in the
middle and southern zones of the Lower Peninsula will open on the same
day this year. The 2002-2003 duck hunting dates are:
* Upper Peninsula (North Zone): Sept. 28-Nov. 24 and Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
* Lower Peninsula (Middle and South Zones): Oct. 12-Dec. 8 and Jan.
Further details on the goose and duck season will be available on the
DNR Web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr, or in the Michigan Waterfowl Hunting
guide, available Sept. 10 at local DNR offices and wherever licenses are
The Commissioners had an extensive discussion about the Department's
continued struggle to meet its Payment in Lieu of Taxes obligation to
local government units. Commissioners noted that the DNR is the only
state department required to pay taxes on lands managed for Michigan's
citizens, paying nearly $22 million annually to local governments. DNR
Director K.L. Cool, acting on counsel from the NRC, approved some
critical acquisition proposals, but rejected others on the agenda and
advised DNR staff that further land acquisitions that create additional
tax burdens will be curtailed until significant progress is made toward
resolving the Department's inability to pay taxes on current lands.
The Commission also approved a resolution asking the Governor and the
state Legislature for legislative action transferring authority to set
hunting and fishing license fees and park entrance fees to the Natural
Resources Commission. The Commission currently has authority to set
camping fees. Commissioners noted that, under this proposal, the
Legislature would retain all of its authority to appropriate annual
budgets to the Department.
The next regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission
is Sept. 12-13 in Lansing.