DNR News: Waterfowl season openers, safe youth boating, fall campfire prep

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest - Week of Aug. 30, 2021

campfire header

Always make sure to follow safety tips when prepping your fires.

This week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.  

We'll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources! Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. Green-winged teal, Shutterstock.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Sunset on Silver Lake sand dunes

silver lake sand dunes

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Sarah Goodwin at Silver Lake State Park in Oceana County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Waterfowl hunting seasons begin Sept. 1


It’s time to dust off the decoys, practice your calls and round up the retriever; early teal and goose hunting seasons begin Sept 1.  

Michigan has world-class waterfowl hunting opportunities on the lakes, marshes, rivers and ponds of the state. Enjoy an exciting hunt and put delicious, locally sourced food on your table this season. 

“Michigan is known for some of the best waterfowl hunting in the nation, and we invite hunters to come and experience it,” said Barbara Avers, DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist. 

Early teal season runs from Sept. 1-16. These fast-flying ducks present a unique challenge to duck hunters. Blue-winged and green-winged teal are the only ducks that can be harvested during this season.

Goose season begins Sept. 1 in most of the state.

This year’s goose seasons are: 

  • North Zone: Sept. 1-Dec. 16.  
  • Middle Zone: Sept. 1-Dec. 16.  
  • South Zone: Sept. 1-30, Oct. 9-Dec. 5, 2021; Jan. 1-9 and Feb. 5-14, 2022.  
  • Allegan County Goose Management Unit: Sept. 1-30, Nov. 6-13, Nov. 25-Dec. 5 and Dec. 18, 2021-Feb. 13, 2022. 
  • Muskegon County Goose Management Unit: Oct. 16-Dec. 23.  

Canada geese, white-fronted geese or specklebellies, and brant are part of a dark goose aggregate daily bag limit. New this year, during the entire goose season, the dark goose aggregate daily bag limit for Canada geese, white-fronted geese and brant is five, only one of which can be a brant. An aggregate bag limit is also in place for light geese including snow, blue and Ross’s geese. Hunters may harvest 20 light geese per day during goose seasons.   

Michigan’s Wetland Wonders are a great place to hunt during these seasons. They include the seven premier managed waterfowl areas in southern Michigan, which offer some of the best waterfowl hunting in the state.

When moving to a new body of water, make sure to remove plants and debris from boats and gear to prevent the spread of invasive species that affect waterfowl habitat.

Visit Michigan.gov/Waterfowl to purchase your license and federal duck stamp and brush up on hunting regulations in the 2021 Waterfowl Digest.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division 517-284-9453.

Last chance for safe boaters to earn a free McDonald's treat

safe boating

End the summer boating season in style by wearing your life jacket! This is the last weekend conservation officers will pass out free McDonald's ice cream and apple slice coupons – valid at participating locations in Michigan – to youth boaters spotted wearing their life jacket. 

Just like wearing your seat belt in a car, life jackets save lives. You never know when an accident or medical emergency will occur and if you’ll have enough time to properly put on your life jacket. 

The United States Coast Guard reported drowning as the cause of death in 79% of all boating fatalities in 2019. Don’t be a statistic – life jackets float; you don’t. 

Always check your boat before going out on the water, leave a float plan with someone not boating with you and boat sober. For more tips on boating safety, visit the boating safety page. Get your boating safety certificate, check closures and find boat launches at Michigan.gov/Boating.

Questions? Contact Lt. Tom Wanless at WanlessT@Michigan.gov.

'Spruce' up your campfire space to protect spruces (and pines, firs and beeches … )


Like a crisp breeze rolling in and breaking up summer’s sticky humidity, the Labor Day holiday is a sure sign that fall is around the corner. If it’s been too hot to use your campfire or bonfire space over summer, now is the time to get it back in shape for fall get-togethers.

Here are some safety tips to know when prepping a fire:

  • Block flying sparks with a fire ring or build a fire in a vegetation-free circle of bricks or stones.
  • Trim back any overhanging branches to a safe distance from the campfire area.
  • Cut and rake away any grasses or brush from around the campfire area.
  • Build a maximum campfire size of about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. This size allows you to reach it with a shovel and quickly put it out in case of windy weather or an emergency.

Before lighting a fire, check weather conditions. You can find daily fire danger ratings online. Dry weather and wind are the main safety factors to watch out for. Wind gusts can cause wildfires by carrying escaped embers and sparks into fields or brush.

When enjoying a fire, always have water source, a shovel and a metal rake close by. Never leave a fire unattended – even for a minute – and always put out a fire completely with water before turning in for the night.

Department of Natural Resources firefighters have responded this year to more than 263 wildfires that have burned nearly 2,400 acres in Michigan. Get wildfire prevention tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires or share a fun Smokey Bear video with friends and family


Looking for your next fishing adventure? Check out the Where to Fish page for family fishing waters, inland lake maps, trout trails and more! Just make sure you have your 2021 fishing license.


Waiting for the perfect site to open up? With the new "Notify Me" feature on the Michigan State Park & Harbor Reservations page, get an email notification when a site becomes available for selected dates.


If you want to help us fight against invasive species, sign up to join an upcoming volunteer stewardship work day at your nearby state park. Check the volunteer calendar for opportunities near you.