The most relaxed duck hunting regulations allowable are in store for Ohio and Michigan waterfowlers this fall, along with a forecast of good hunting.
Both states will be featuring split 60-day duck seasons and six-duck daily bags, the maximum allowed by the framework set by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Michigan has three opening dates, Sept. 25 for the Upper Peninsula, Oct. 2 for the northern lower peninsula, and Oct. 9 for the southern lower peninsula. Ohio's duck and Canada goose season will open Oct. 16 in the northern zone and Oct. 23 in the southern zone.
"Waterfowl hunting should be good throughout Ohio this year due to good habitat conditions in Canada, where most of our migrating ducks and geese nest," said Steve Gray, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. "Also, numbers of resident waterfowl such as wood ducks and Canada geese are good and should provide good hunting."
Details on the Ohio and Michigan general waterfowl seasons will be posted here as the seasons near, or can be seen in each state's waterfowl hunting guides, available free where licenses are sold. Or check the Web sites, www.ohiodnr.com, or www.michigan.gov/dnr.
In related news, two premier waterfowling events are set for this month.
The Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival, including the 57th Michigan Duck Hunters' Tournament and the Midwest Decoy Show and Wildlife Art Show, is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area on Lake Erie east of I-75, 15 miles north of Monroe.
A decoy contest and Trading Post will be open both days 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Midwest goose calling championships and retriever demonstrations are set for noon, and the Pointe Mouillee regional duck calling championships for 2 p.m. Daylong features include BB-gun and archery shooting for youths, waterfowl hunting demonstrations, and displays and exhibits.
On Sunday the actual duck hunters' tournament, with senior and junior grand championship river events, is set for 9 a.m. Events include sneak shooting and layout shooting contests, punt-boat race, duckboat rowing race, and marsh-shooting championships.
Retriever demonstrations are set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Midwest duck calling championships for noon, firing of a replica of a 140-year-old punt gun for 10 a.m. and noon, auction at 1:30 p.m., and awards and raffles 4 to 5 p.m. Youth activities will run from noon to 3 p.m.
For details, call the festival's executive director, Dick Whitwam, 734-379-4292.
The 22nd annual Ohio Waterfowlers Festival is set for Sept. 25 and 26 at Crane Creek State Park/Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.
For the following events, call as noted: Trading Post, Phil Kochanski, 419-691-8151; decoy contest, Bob Lund, 419-874-3671; Ohio regional duck and goose calling, Bob Chapland, 216-731-5208; dog retrieving, Scott Denham, 419-836-8516.
The Fort Meigs Chapter and the Fremont Chapter of Ducks Unlimited have scheduled their annual fund-raising dinners this month.
The Fort Meigs event is set for Thursday at the DC Entertainment Complex, 25740 North Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg. Social hour is set for 6 p.m., dinner 7 p.m., and raffle and auctions at 8 p.m. For tickets or other details, call Tom Gergich at 419-283-4663 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Fremont event is set for Sept. 22 at the American Legion Hall, 2000 Buckland Ave., Fremont. Social hour is at 5 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and raffles and auction at 8 p.m. For tickets and details, call Todd Williams, 419-355-8771, or Larry/Linda Paul, 419-332-5782.
The Maumee Valley Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation, has planned its fifth annual JAKES field conservation day for Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Adams Conservation Club, 240 South King Rd., Holland.
Instruction and hands-on experiences will be offered in the following areas: .22 rifle, pistol, muzzleloading rifle, shotgun, and archery, flyfishing, gun safety, canoeing, hunter safety and ethics, among others. JAKES - Juveniles Acquiring Knowledge, Skills, and Ethics - is a nationally recognized program for youths to age 17. Extreme JAKES, for teenagers, will be offering additional activities.
The program is free to JAKES members, or $5 without membership, and includes a picnic lunch. For other details call Jeff Wright, 419-832-1461, or Todd Wilson, 419-875-5153.
The annual Lake County PerchFest is set for Friday evening through Sunday at Lakefront Park in Fairport Harbor, east of Cleveland.
PerchFest celebrates Lake Erie yellow perch with fish fries, a perch fishing contest, fireworks, bands, exhibits, displays, and other activities, and draws some 50,000 visitors.
For details, call the Lake County Visitors Bureau, 1-800-368-LAKE, or visit the event Web site, www.perchfest.com.
The Maumee Valley Area Chapter, Whitetails Unlimited has set its annual fund-raising dinner for Saturday at the Holland Gardens, 6530 Angola Rd., Holland. Social hour is at 5 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., with raffles and auctions afterward.
For tickets, call Tye Hightower, 419-866-9485 or 419-346-6807; Cleland's Outdoor World, 419-865-4713, or Dennis Malloy, toll-free, 1-866-988-3337.
The Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Buckeye Division, will wrap up its regular season Saturday and Sunday with a tournament on Lake Erie near Sandusky.
Take-off will be at the Sandusky boat launch-ramp, with final weigh-in Sunday at the Wal-Mart at 5500 Milan Rd., Sandusky. The field can accept up to 200 entrants and co-anglers, with a total payout of almost $71,000 in cash and prizes with a full field of competitors.
The top 30 division anglers at season's end will advance to regional competition at Kerr Lake, Henderson, N.C., Oct. 5 through 9. If the event is not full, entries will be accepted at tournament registration time at the Sandusky store. Or call FLWOutdoors at 270-252-1000, or visit its Web site, FLWOutdoors.com.