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Published: Tuesday, 10/5/2004

Mixed bag awaits Michigan duck hunters Saturday

The Michigan duck hunting season opens Saturday in the southern lower peninsula, and waterfowlers likely will find a mixed bag and average numbers of ducks in those regional marshes that still contain water.

Russ Terry, a regional biologist with Ducks Unlimited's Atlantic Regional Office in Ann Arbor, said that habitat conditions were awesome after an extremely wet spring, but a very dry late summer and early fall have caused small basins to evaporate quickly. "There's not a ton of birds around now," Terry said.

Last week's cold front pushed out many of the blue-winged teal, for example. The DU biologist said that enough locally produced birds have stayed to make hunting fair. "But it's a not likely to be an awesome opener."

Ernie Kascas, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said that the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area north of Monroe is holding good numbers of birds and a good opener is expected there.

Good numbers of green-winged teal seem to have remained although the blue-wings are not around, according to Kascas, and mallard numbers seem to be building gradually by the day. Wigeon and pintails may move down this week on colder weather fronts.

Overall, however, birds numbers seem lower than in recent past years. Lake St. Clair and the popular St. Clair Flats region are showing improved conditions over a year ago because of higher lake levels, but the lake is falling because of seasonal declines.

The first split of the regular Canada goose season, which opened statewide Sept. 20, closes Sunday, reopening Dec. 4 through 12.

The southern lower peninsula duck season runs through Dec. 5, and also is open Jan. 1 and 2.

The pintail season, however, is only open from Saturday through Nov. 7 in the southern lower. Canvasback season also is limited, with dates in the southern lower set at Nov. 8 through Dec. 5 and Jan. 1 and 2.

The daily duck bag is six, to include no more than four mallards (only one of which may be a hen); three scaup or bluebills, two wood ducks, two redheads, and one black duck. The limit may not include more than one pintail or one canvasback during their respective 30-day seasons.

For other details on Michigan waterfowling, visit the state Web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr.

A forecast and details on the Ohio duck and goose season, which opens in the North Zone Oct. 16, will appear in this space next week.

In other hunting news, the Ohio fall wild turkey hunting season opens Saturday in 36 central, southern, and eastern counties. Richland County is the only one in Ohio Wildlife District 2, which covers northwest Ohio and parts of north-central Ohio, that will be open. Both shotguns and archery tackle are legal.

The season, for one bird of either sex, continues through Oct. 24. An archery-only season continues afterward in the 36 counties through Nov. 28.

The statewide flock numbers about 160,000 birds, which is down from a high of 260,000 because of poor hatches in recent previous years. A good hatch last summer, however, is expected to bolster the statewide flock.

Last year some 26,000 fall turkey hunters took 2,060 birds. For other details, visit the state Web site, www.ohiodnr.com.

The Northwest Ohio Chapter, Ducks Unlimited, covering greater Toledo, has set its annual fund-raising dinner for Oct. 14 at Gladieux Meadows, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd.

Social hour is set for 5:30 p.m. and dinner for 7:30 p.m., followed by auctions and raffles at 8:30. For ticket information call Cindy Lark, 419-661-1755.

Some 1,800 acres of marshland will be available for trapping this fall at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Lucas and Ottawa counties. Bid forms are available at Magee, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449, or by calling 419-898-0960, extension 30. Trappers also can contact Ohio Wildlife District 2, 952-A Lima Ave., Findlay, Ohio, 45840, or call 419-424-5000.

Bids are to be opened at 3 p.m. Oct. 19 at area headquarters. Marsh units may be viewed Oct. 12, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DATEBOOK

Today through Thursday-Toledo Trap and Skeet Club, 2 to 9 p.m. daily, 3150 State Rt. 295, Berkey; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call the club, 419-829-5101.

Tonight-Public trapshoot, 6 to 10 p.m., Dundee Sportsmen's Club, 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., repeats Thursday 9 a.m. to noon and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; also, Saturday, ATA registered trapshoot, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., call the club, 734-529-3581.

Tonight-Public trap and skeet shooting, 6 to 11 p.m., Camp Perry Shooting Club, Camp Perry, State Rt. 2 west of Port Clinton, repeats Thursday 6 to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; call the club, 419-635-2682.

Tomorrow-Public trapshoot, 4 to 8 p.m., Elmore Conservation Club, Portage River Road South, just west of State Rt. 590; new remote wireless trap activators, call Terry Schuetz, 419-691-5506; also, Sunday, trapshoot, 1 to 6 p.m.

Tomorrow-Nursery care and seed collection by volunteers, 6 to 8 p.m., agricultural incubator, Wood County Park Disrtict, 18729 Mercer Rd., Bowling Green, call 419-353-1897; also, Saturday, canoe float, Maumee River, Otsego Park canoe livery, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., call the park district to register; also, Sunday, bike hike, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Slippery Elm Trail at Rudolph; also, scarecrow-making workshop, 2 p.m., Carter-Loomis Farm Park, call the parks.

Tomorrow-Mushroom identification, 5 to 8 p.m., Hidden Lake Gardens, M-50 west of Tecumseh, Mich., call the Gardens to register, 517-431-2060; also, Saturday, tree walk, 1 to 3 p.m., call to register.

Tomorrow-Friends of Pearson Metropark, 7 p.m., Packer-Hammersmith Center, public welcome; also, Thursday, seed harvest, 4 to 5:30 p.m., Side Cut Metropark, Siegert Lake Area, call to register at 419-535-3057 extension 101; also, green living/wind-energy program, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Secor Metropark, Nature Photography Center; also, fall colors nature photography, 5 p.m., Wildwood Preserve Metropark, call to register 419-829-6866; also, Saturday, birding program, 9 a.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Buehner Center; also, volunteer seed harvest, 10 a.m. to noon, Oak Openings/Buehner, call extension 101 to register; also, Bend View hike and cookout, late afternoon from Farnsworth Metropark, boat launch area, call to register at extension 101; also, star watch, 9 to 11 p.m., Oak Openings.Girdham and Reed roads; also, canal-boat tours, 10 and 11:30 a.m., Providence Metropark, Kimble's Landing, call to register 419-832-6006.

Thursday-Public trapshoot, 6 to 9 p.m., Ottawa County Conservation League, Martin-Moline Road, Martin; call Bob Reinbolt, 419-855-8409.

Thursday-Trapshoot, Sandusky County Sportmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg; also, Saturday, cowboy shoot, call Bob Caswall, 419-862-2861.



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