If you're a waterfowl hunter, you need to go. If you're a birder, you need to go. Tomorrow and Sunday are the only two days for the annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival at Bay City State Recreation Area.
The Department of Natural Resources will host the 19th annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival. Festival activities focus on getting families outdoors to appreciate Michigan’s Waterfowl Legacy – wondrous waterfowl and the unique wetland habitat upon which they depend. The festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors are invited to experience a wide range of activities, displays and programs, all focused on Michigan’s world-class waterfowl resources, the sport of waterfowl hunting and wetland conservation. The event is co-sponsored by the Frank N. Andersen Foundation, Michigan Duck Hunters Association, the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area, Ducks Unlimited, Frank’s Great Outdoors and Cabela’s. Last year more than 10,000 visitors attended.
The festival’s main events include:
The Michigan Duck Stamp Competition
This event showcases the entries in the 2015 MDHA Duck Stamp Contest, which is open to all artists. This will be the only opportunity for the public to view all entries for the 2015 duck stamp. The Michigan Duck Stamp Program began 39 years ago to raise money for wetland habitat restoration and habitat acquisition for waterfowl. A portion of every waterfowl stamp and print purchased goes toward Michigan wetland habitat restoration.
Waterfowl Calling Championships
The Michigan Goose Calling Competition and the Michigan Championship Duck Calling Contest are two of the festival’s popular events. The calling competitions include master and novice divisions. There also will be a Junior Duck Calling Competition and a Junior Goose Calling Contest for youth ages 16 and younger. The festival also will host (Saturday) a Team Duck Calling Contest, designed for teams of two hunters using working field calls. The Saginaw Cabela’s Outpost also will offer youth and adult calling classes.
Hunting and Outdoor Recreation Expo
Over 100 exhibitors will be involved in the Hunting and Outdoor Recreation Expo, providing waterfowl enthusiasts with hunting, archery, camping, boating, wildlife-watching and habitat-enhancement products and wares. The expo includes a special Wildlife Art and Craft Show with fine art originals, prints, photos, carvings and crafts, all inspired by the wonder and beauty of nature.
Dog Fun Hunt Trial
Attendees can bring their retrievers to participate in the Dog Fun Hunt Trial, where they can also learn tips from trainers on dog handling or find a new hunting buddy in "Puppy Alley.” The event also offers a free opportunity for sporting dog breeders to bring out their puppies to introduce them to potential owners.
One of the increasingly popular festival events offers an opportunity for adults to mentor young hunters in a three-person team (one adult, two youth) competition. The "Quack-Athlon" is a contest of skill and timing in three events: canoeing, air-rifle marksmanship and duck identification.
Featured displays will include those by 2014 Michigan duck stamp artist Chris Smith, wildlife carver Calvin McLeod, taxidermist Gary Ebel and wildlife photographer Tim Kaufman. Visitors also will be able to enter their own wildlife carvings and wildlife photographs and participate in judging the Wildlife Carving Show entries and the Wildlife Photography Contest entries.
For more details on these activities and information for exhibitors, visit www.michigan.gov/saginawbayvc; stop by the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center, located within Bay City State Recreation Area at 3582 State Park Drive in Bay City; or call 989-667-0717.