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Published: Sunday, 9/1/2002

Mallard bag, pintail season dip in Ohio

Ohio and Michigan duck hunters again will see liberal 60-day seasons and six-duck daily bags this fall.

Following are summaries of each state's seasons.

OHIO

Major changes include a reduction in the daily bag allowance for mallards, down from four to just three, plus no open season on canvasbacks and just a 30-day season on pintails.

The opening date for the general duck and goose season in Ohio is Oct. 19 in the North Zone and Oct.26 in the South Zone. A special young-hunter season is set for Oct.12 and 13.

The North Zone duck season, except canvasbacks and pintails, is Oct. 19 through Nov. 30, and Dec. 7-23. The North Zone pintail season is Oct. 19 through Nov. 17.

The South Zone duck season is Oct. 26 through Nov. 17, and Dec.14 through Jan. 19, with a split pintail season of Oct. 26 through Nov.2 and Dec. 14 through Jan. 4.

The daily Ohio bag may include six ducks, but no more than three mallards [one hen], one black duck, one pintail, two wood ducks, two redheads, or three scaup.

The Ohio goose season is as follows: Lake Erie Canada Goose Zone, Oct. 19 through 27, and Dec.7 through Jan. 1, for Canada geese and brant only. “Light” geese - snow, blue, Ross's, and white-fronted - can be hunted according to North Zone dates. The North Zone goose season outside Lake Erie is Oct. 19 through Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 through Jan. 2. The South Zone goose dates are Oct. 26 through Nov. 17 and Dec. 14 through Jan. 29.

A special late Canada goose season is set for Jan. 11 through 29 in selected northern Ohio areas.

MICHIGAN

As in Ohio, the seasons include only 30 days for pintails, and no season on canvasbacks. A breakdown of allowances by species in the daily bag-limit of six has not been announced and should be posted by Sept. 10, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

The Upper Peninsula or North Zone duck dates are Sept. 28 through Nov. 24 and Nov. 30-Dec.1, with pintails allowed only the first 30 days. The Lower Peninsula dates, Middle and South zones, are Oct. 12 through Dec. 8 and Jan. 4 and 5, with pintails the first 30 days.

A statewide youth duck-hunting weekend is set for Sept. 21 and 22.

The early Canada goose season is Sept. 1 through 10 in some areas, and Sept. 1 through 15 in others. The general goose seasons begin Sept. 16, but area restrictions are extensive. For details check the MDNR Web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Commentary: This autumn's federally framed, liberal waterfowl seasons pose some interesting questions for hunters and waterfowl managers alike, especially given dry conditions across much of the country and concerns about declines in some popular species. Lack of space does not allow room for discussion here, but the subject will be broached in this space soon.

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The 2002 Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, 15 miles north of Monroe, Mich. at South Rockwood.

The Festival incorporates the 55th Michigan Duck Hunters Tournament, Midwest Decoy Contest, and Wildlife Art Show. The game area is located east of I-75, Exit 26. Take South Huron River Drive east to Jefferson Avenue.

Festival hours are 8 a.m. to 5p.m. The duck hunters' tournament includes, sneak-boat, layout, and marsh shooting, and punt-boat, rowing, and hip-boot races.

The Midwest Goose-Calling Championships are set for noon Saturday, followed by regional duck calling at 2 p.m. Tournament events run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Retriever events are Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the Midwest Duck Calling Championships at noon. For other details, call Pointe Mouillee, 734-379-9692.

A related event, the 20th annual Ohio Waterfowlers Festival, is scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29 at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and Crane Creek State Park, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor. Additional details will appear later in this space.

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In other birding news of note, four rare roseate spoonbills have been sighted at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. The bright pink and white tropical wading birds almost never are seen north of Georgia and South Carolina.

Ohio's only other record of the species is in 1986 in Defiance County. The roseate spoonbill is the only spoonbill native to the Western Hemisphere, standing 30 to 34 inches tall with a wingspan of 50 inches. Rocky Fork staff think the foursome has been present since late July.

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DATEBOOK

Today - Monthly bird count, 8 a.m., Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, meet at refuge headquarters off State Rt. 2.

Today - Bowshoot, Four County Conservation League, Bellevue, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; call the club, 419-483-8113.

Monday - Labor Day hike, 10 a.m., Providence Metropark, historical area, Grand Rapids, kickoff hike to series of Autumn Adventure walks; call the Metroparks, 419-535-3058 extension 101; also, Wednesday, Fallen Timbers hike, Side Cut Metropark, 6:30 p.m.; meet at Fallen Timbers Monument.

Tuesday - Friends of Magee Marsh, 7 p.m., at Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center, Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor; call Mary Warren at Magee, 419-898-0960 extension 31.

Thursday - Annual fund-raising dinner, Crane Creek Chapter, Ducks Unlimited, at Cooley Canal Yacht Club, off State Rt. 2, Bono, next to Metzger Marsh State Wildlife Area; social hour 5:30 p.m., chicken and ribs barbecue 7 p.m., followed by raffles and auctions; for tickets and information, call Chuck Traband, 419-242-1400.

Thursday - Annual fund-raising dinner, Fort Meigs Chapter, Ducks Unlimited, DC Ranch complex, 25740 North Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg, social hour 5:30 p.m., buffet dinner 7 p.m., auction and raffles 8 p.m.; for tickets and information call Glenn Rambo, 419-247-2524.



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