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Published: Tuesday, 9/1/2009

Waterfowl festival rapidly approaching

The 62nd Annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival is set for Sept. 12-13 at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area on Lake Erie, east of I-75 at Rockwood, Mich.

The festival, which last year drew 10,000 visitors, is co-hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the festival committee. It includes the Michigan Duck Hunters' Tournament, sponsored by Cabela's, with hunters competing in shooting and boat-racing events.

Other popular events are the Midwest Decoy Contest, which includes decoys and bird carvers from all over North America, and the Wildlife Art Show, which features artists, crafters and suppliers from all corners of the United States and Canada.

Activities begin at 8 a.m. Sept. 12 and run through 5 p.m. Sept. 13. Admission is free.

A special attraction at the festival this year is the Great Lakes Fish Decoy Collectors and Carvers Association's World Championships. The association also will hold contests for fish carving and jigging stick.

Registration for all carvings begins at 8 a.m. Sept. 12 with judging starting at 10 a.m. The public is welcome to view the registered fish decoys during the judging period, which ends in the early afternoon.

"Fish decoys are judged in the water, and it is amazing to see how some of the decoys act or swim with just a slight twitch of the jigging stick," said Dick Whitwam, executive director of the festival. Members of the association will be on hand Sept. 13, to demonstrate fish decoy swimming techniques.

Located at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie, Pointe Mouillee comprises the largest freshwater marsh restoration project in North America.

Among other attractions is the Trading Post, where hunters can buy, sell or swap goods with outdoorsmen from around the Midwest and which features more than 180 exhibitor booths selling and trading equipment and supplies.

Other daily demonstrations include duck-decoy carving, fly-tying and small-boat building. Dog retriever events are slated for both days with hunting seminars scheduled for Saturday.

The Midwest Goose Calling Championship, sponsored by Zink Calls, will be held Saturday at noon with a first prize of $1,000. The Midwest Duck Calling Championship will be held Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. with four separate contests. Winners are eligible for the World Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Ark.

This year's festival is dedicated to former DNR wildlife biologist Bob Humphries, who was an avid waterfowler and a champion of mentoring youth into outdoor recreation.

"This festival is known for its 62 years of rich history," said MDNR wildlife biologist Joe Robison, "This is a great opportunity for adults and kids to experience the great outdoors."

For more information, contact Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival executive director Whitwam at 734-379-4292 or visit online at miwaterfowlfest.org.

Michigan duck hunters will enjoy three opening days this fall, based on the three hunting zones in the state.

Duck seasons will run Sept. 26 through Nov. 20 and Nov. 26 through 29 in the North Zone (upper peninsula), Oct. 3 through Nov. 29 and Dec. 5 and 6 in the Middle Zone (northern lower), and Oct. 10 through Dec. 6 and Jan. 2 and 3 in the South Zone (southern lower).

There is an open season on canvasbacks this year as well as expanded opportunity for scaup. The daily bag limit is six ducks to include no more than four mallards (no more than one hen), three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, one pintail, one black duck and one canvasback.

Early Canada goose season opened today and runs through Sept. 15 statewide, except for the Upper Peninsula and Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties, where it runs through Sept. 10. The daily bag limit is five.

Regular goose seasons are Sept. 16 through Oct. 30 in the North Zone; Oct. 3 through Nov. 9 and Nov. 26 through Dec. 2 in the Middle Zone and Oct. 10 through Nov. 12 and Nov. 26 through Dec. 6 in the South Zone, except for designated Goose Management Units (GMU). The daily bag limit is two.

Elsewhere in the South Zone, the late season is Jan. 2 through 31 with a bag limit of five. Hunters also may harvest other geese during the regular and late goose seasons in their respective zones. The bag limits are 10 snow, blue and Ross' geese in combination; and one white-fronted goose or one brant.

Hunters are also reminded of the Youth Waterfowl Weekend on Sept. 19 and 20. This hunt is statewide for licensed youths 10 to 15 years of age. Youths must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone 18 years or older. The adult will not be allowed to hunt waterfowl and is not required to have a waterfowl hunting license.

For other details, visit the MDNR Web site, michigan.gov/dnrhunting.

Contact Steve Pollick at:

spollick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6068.



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