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2022 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Recap

A summary from one of Michigan's most popular summer waterfowl weekends.

2022 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Recap

Kile Jones (right) and Tyler Heaton (left) after the duo won the Team Duck calling contest at the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival. (Photo courtesy of Kile Jones)

On Saturday and Sunday, August 6 & 7, 2022, the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival was held at the Bay City State Park in Bay City, Michigan. This annual tradition is a mainstay event for Michigan waterfowlers and area contest callers alike, and features several duck and goose calling competitions for junior (ages 15 and under) novice, and seasoned callers, as well as the famed Great Lakes Regional Duck and state-sanctioned Michigan State Duck Calling contests.

Last Flight Calls duck and goose calls vendor booth
The “Bay City” event, as it’s known by locals, draws in a crowd to celebrate a common passion for all things waterfowl, but duck calls often take center stage for the hunters and callers in attendance. (Photo By: Matthew Hicks)

Welcome Home

Kile Jones has been heavily involved in contest calling for many years and got his start on the Bay City stage. He moved back home to Michigan just a few months ago after being away for several years, and is thrilled to have taken home a few titles from the festival. “It was a goal of mine to qualify for World Duck and to try to win state goose, but getting back to where it all started for me has really hit deep. It’s been humbling, and at times, even a bit emotional. This is where I got started contest calling, developed relationships, and really became an outdoorsman.”

Jones added that what stuck him the most was the number of new callers and their budding potential. “I haven’t seen contestant numbers like this in a long time, if ever at this particular event. I’m so hopeful because you can can just see their talent and their potential to grow. If they take and run with what they have….who knows what’ll happen for them. These guys are hungry to come back and compete, they want it bad, they want to improve, and it’s just really cool to see that.”

Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Calling Contest Results 

Team Duck: Tyler Heaton & Kile Jones (13 teams)

Novice Duck: Jordan Blomgern (13 contestants)

Open Meat Duck: Tyler Heaton

Michigan State Duck: Kile Jones

Great Lakes Regional Duck: Nick Johnson

Novice Goose: Ben Heron (12 contestants)

Michigan State Open Goose: Kile Jones

contest duck callers on stage
The Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival features several duck and goose contests for both youth and adults. (Photo By: Matthew Hicks)


Additional Activities

Jonathan Massung of Bay City State Park and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the festival was a big success in its 27th year. “We had a small event last year, but after this weekend, it’s a good sign things are coming back and we’re doing really well. This was the first year we held the Great Lakes Regional Duck Calling Contest and it brought in a wider variety of people from throughout the Great Lakes region to add to the conversation and support our local resources.”

Massung coordinates with event partners and vendors to ensure there are fun festivities for everyone. In addition to the calling contests, the festival featured instructional calling clinics, waterfowl activities and exhibitions, wood duck box building, canoe races, sporting dog trials, a wildlife photography contest, a duck stamp competition, food trucks, vendors, games, wildlife arts and crafts, and so much more. Designed to entertain the entire family, this free two-day festival is sure to help you and your kin beat the off-season summertime blues as we close the gap on opening day.

2022 saginaw bay waterfowl festival
The Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival is packed full of fun activities for the entire outdoor enthusiast family. (Photo courtesy of Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival)

The Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Duck Hunters Association, GK Calls, Last Flight Calls, Friends of Bay City State Park, and several others. More than just calling contests and waterfowl-themed activities, this event serves to connect hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, outdoor recreationists, and the larger community to celebrate a common passion for waterfowl and wetland conservation. “Our big goal is to bring the outdoors to the community, especially our youth,” Massung added. “We hope to create an opportunity for them to make a connection through hunting activities, or just through wildlife and nature appreciation. This is also a great opportunity for these hunting-based organizations to showcase to the public how their efforts contribute to the conservation and betterment of waterfowl.”

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