Feds again approve 'liberal' duck seasons

  • Blog Post by: Dennis Anderson
  • August 2, 2013 - 12:26 PM




Ducks may be scarce again this fall in Minnesota — and certainly will be compared to historical norms — but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undeterred: Once again it's proposing "liberal'' duck seasons here and nationwide.

In Minnesota, that means the same 6-duck daily bag limits as in recent years. But for those lucky enough to kill 18 ducks in a season (the average Minnesota waterfowler downs less than half that number before freeze-up) the possession limit will increase to three times the daily limit.

Here's what the service says about the continent's duck and goose populations and breeding conditions this spring and early summer:

"Overall, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season. In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska, the 2013 total duck population estimate was 45.6 million birds, a decrease of six percent from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million, but still 33 percent above the long-term average (1955-2012).

"Overall, habitat conditions were similar to or slightly improved from last year. The 2013 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. was 2.3 million. Pond numbers in the U.S. were 41 percent higher than 2012. While initially dry, late spring rains helped recharge wetlands, which benefited late-nesting waterfowl.

"The proposed federal frameworks include duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas), and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway. The proposed frameworks include a full season on pintails with a two-bird daily bag limit nationwide, and a full season on canvasbacks with a two-bird daily bag limit nationwide. The Service is also proposing to increase possession limits for ducks and geese to three times the daily bag limit. The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.''

Here's what the service proposes for the Mississippi Flyway: (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin):

Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between September 21, 2013, and January 26, 2014. The proposed daily bag limit is 6 and may include no more than 4 mallards (2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 1 mottled duck, 2 redheads, 3 scaup, 2 pintails, 1 black duck, and 2 canvasbacks. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is 5, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. In states that include mergansers in the duck bag limit, the daily limit is the same as the duck bag limit, only 2 which may be hooded mergansers.

Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada goose would be held between September 21, 2013, and January 31, 2014, and vary in length among states and areas. States would be able to select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 21, 2013, and March 10, 2014; for white-fronted goose the proposed season would not exceed 74 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 88 days with a 1-bird daily bag limit between September 21, 2013, and February 16, 2014; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a 1 bird daily bag limit between September 21, 2013, and January 31, 2013.

To watch a video produced by the service regarding the current status of waterfowl, go here.




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