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Play nice with waterfowl, as there are laws protecting them

Posted: 12:29 PM, Aug 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-02 17:37:16Z

Ducks, geese and other waterfowl share our lakes, and it's smart to play nice with them. The DNR is wanting to remind watercraft riders that there are laws protecting our feathered friends.

Over the past several years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been receiving complaints about negative interactions between watercraft riders and waterfowl.

“We are getting complaints of individuals on personal watercraft harassing or pursuing ducks and geese on the Portage Canal and other area inland lakes,” said Sgt. Grant Emery, DNR area law supervisor in a release. “This has been an ongoing problem over the past several years. We are continuing our enforcement and educational efforts to inform riders of the laws in place protecting waterfowl.”

Michigan law says that it is illegal to take waterfowl during the closed hunting seasons, or to take game with a motor vehicle. Penalties for doing so include up to 90 days in jail, up to a $500 fine or both. Also, the cost of the prosecution, and in addition a $500 restitution may be imposed.

“Riding personal watercraft is a great way to enjoy summertime fun in Michigan’s water wonderland, but care must be taken not to endanger waterfowl,” said Lt. Pete Wright, DNR district law supervisor. “At this time of year, many ducks and geese are out on the water with their young broods. It is important for riders to avoid these waterfowl.”

To report illegal take of waterfowl or other species, call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. The hotline offers rewards to tipsters and the amounts vary depending on the incident and the value of the information provided, according to the release.