The Opener: 2015 Duck, Duck, Goose

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 4.50.21 PM Amy Trotter
by Amy Trotter, MUCC Policy Manager
Any of you who hunt waterfowl in Michigan have already formed opinions on how Michigan should be changing its season dates and zones to allow you to achieve your optimal hunting conditions (weather, timing, number of birds, working around other key dates). Believe me, I know this, because its an annual source of conversation around the dinner table at my house!
Here's your chance to put your thoughts into action, or at least it's worth a try. Each year, MUCC members can share this input with your very own representative in the regulation setting process.
The next Citizen’s Waterfowl Advisory Committee (CWAC)(**for explanation see below) meeting will be at Fred's Place in Roscommon on Saturday March 7 at 9:00 am. The agenda will be available at the meeting, but this is the meeting each year where CWAC members will discuss with the DNR their thoughts on the past year’s waterfowl hunting seasons in Michigan.
Do you have any thoughts to share with MUCC’s CWAC representative, Steve Wyckoff? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook or email Steve directly at dnswyckoff@gmail.com. Specifically, consider these items:
  • How was your waterfowl season in 2014? How did the timing of the season impact your hunt, positively or negatively?
  • Do you have any recommended changes that should be considered?
  • What did you think of the 2014 Early Teal Season?
  • Do you have any feedback on how the new license restructuring impacted your hunting, particularly managed waterfowl area users and non-resident waterfowl hunters?
In addition to waterfowl regulations, CWAC will also be learning more about how the waterfowl regulations process will be changing as a result of changes to the federal framework process. In 2016, the USFWS will be moving from an early/late season setting process to a single regulation setting process. As a result, by 2016, waterfowl hunters will know much earlier in the year what the season dates will be in order to plan ahead for their hunting seasons.
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**The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) establishes frameworks for migratory bird hunting seasons, and states must choose seasons within those frameworks. In Michigan, the DNR has been working with hunters serving on the Citizen’s Waterfowl Advisory Committee (CWAC), to come up with the annual proposal for waterfowl regulations for more than 30 years.
What is CWAC?
CWAC is comprised of 12 members-at-large and representatives from 8 waterfowl hunting and conservation organizations. The length of each term on CWAC is limited to three years. Members of CWAC are representatives from organizations directly interested in waterfowl hunting and representatives every part of the state. The distribution of CWAC members is based upon geographic representation of where waterfowl hunters live, based upon duck stamp sales. Recently, efforts have been made to include regional members who more closely resemble the average hunter or occasional hunter, rather than only avid waterfowl hunters. Anyone interested in becoming a CWAC member should work with their local DNR Wildlife Biologist  to be added to the list of potential members.
Whether you serve on the CWAC or not, MUCC also encourages hunters to get to know your local DNR Wildlife Biologist. They can be a wealth of information on changes they are seeing in the wildlife populations, habitat management projects coming up in your area, and areas where volunteers could help. By developing this relationship, you can also share your hunting experiences and habitat priorities for the area.
If you are an MUCC member who would like an opportunity to get more involved in waterfowl hunting regulations, we are also looking for a waterfowl hunter to join MUCC’s Wildlife Committee! Please contact MUCC’s Resource Policy Manager Amy Trotter for more details at 517-346-6484.

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