Seasons Proposed for Upcoming Late Waterfowl Season
Aug 02, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2010
Alicia F. King
Seasons proposed for upcoming late waterfowl season
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed hunting season lengths for the upcoming 2010–11 late waterfowl seasons. The proposed frameworks include duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway, and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway. Highlights of the proposed frameworks also include full seasons on pintails with a two bird daily bag limit and canvasbacks with a one bird daily bag limit nationwide. Additionally, the Service is proposing to have a daily bag limit of two scaup in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central Flyways for the full season and three scaup in the Pacific Flyway for 86 days.
States select their seasons from within the frameworks which establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits.
The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.
Flyway-specific highlights of the proposed late-season frameworks are as follows:
Atlantic Flyway (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia):
- Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between September 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two hooded mergansers, two scaup, one black duck, two pintails, one canvasback, one mottled duck, one fulvous whistling duck, and four scoters. The season on harlequin ducks is closed.
- Geese: For light geese, states would be able to select a 107-day season between October 1, 2010, and March 10, 2011, with a daily bag limit of 25 birds and no possession limit. Seasons for Canada geese would vary in length among states and areas depending on the populations of birds that occur in those areas. The daily bag limit would be five birds in most hunt zones established for resident populations of Canada geese. In hunt zones established for migratory populations, bag limits would be three or fewer and would vary among states and areas. For Atlantic brant, the season length may be 50 days with a daily bag limit of two birds.
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 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), one mottled duck, three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, one black duck, one canvasback and two pintails. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded mergansers.
- Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada geese would be held between September 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011, and vary in length among states and areas, with daily bag limits varying from one to three. states would be able to select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 25, 2010, and March 10, 2011; for white-fronted geese, the proposed season would not exceed 72 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 86 days with a one-bird daily bag limit between September 25, 2010, and February 15, 2011; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a one bird daily bag limit between September 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011. There would be no possession limit for light geese.
Central Flyway (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming):
- Ducks: Duck seasons are proposed to be held between September 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011. The daily bag limit would be six ducks, with species and sex restrictions as follows: mallard – five, no more than two of which may be females; scaup, pintail, and redhead – two; wood duck – three; and canvasback – one. The mottled duck season will begin five days after the beginning of the regular season in Texas and the daily bag limit will be one. The possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit. In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit (roughly west of the 100th Meridian), a 97-day season is proposed. The last 23 days would be able to start no earlier than December 11, 2010. A 74-day season is proposed for the remainder of the Central Flyway.
- Geese: Under the proposal, states may select seasons between September 25, 2010 and February 13, 2011 for dark geese and between September 25, 2010, and March 10, 2011, for light geese. East-tier states would be able to select a 107-day season for Canada geese season with a daily bag limit of three. For white-fronted geese, states would be able to select either a 72-day season with a daily bag limit of two birds or an 86-day season with a daily bag limit of one bird. In the West tier, states may select a 107-day dark goose season with a daily bag limit of five birds. In the Western Goose Zone of Texas, the state would be able to select a 95-day season with a daily bag limit of five dark geese (including no more than one white-fronted goose). For light geese, all states would be able to select a 107-day season with a daily bag limit of 20 and no possession limit.
Pacific Flyway (Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming):
- Ducks: Under the proposal, states are allowed a 107-day general duck season between September 25, 2010, and January 30, 2011. The proposed daily bag limit is seven ducks, including no more than two mallard hens, two redheads, one canvasback and two pintails. In addition, an 86 day season for scaup can be chosen with a daily bag limit of three.
- Geese: 107-day seasons are proposed for the Pacific Flyway between September 25, 2010, and March 10, 2011. Proposed basic daily bag limits are up to 10 light geese and four dark geese. There are exceptions to the basic bag limits and season structures for geese in many states, so consult state regulations for specific details. In California, Washington and Oregon, the dark goose limit does not include brant. For brant, the proposed season lengths are 16 days in Oregon and Washington and 30 days in California, with a two-bird daily limit. Washington and California would be able to choose seasons in each of the two zones.
Waterfowl population surveys and monitoring programs are critical parts of successful waterfowl management in North America. Combined, these results form the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world. They help provide equitable hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations. Waterfowl surveys are done in cooperation with the Canadian Wildlife Service and other state, provincial and private conservation partners. Results from the USFWS 55th Annual Breeding Population and Habitat Assessment Survey are available – and for the most part are very similar to last year.
Habitat conditions during the 2010 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were characterized by average to below-average moisture, a mild winter, and early spring across the entire traditional (including northern locations) and eastern survey areas. The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and U.S. combined) was 6.7 million. This is similar to the 2009 estimate and 34 percent above the long-term average of 5.0 million ponds. The estimate of the overall duck population from the traditional survey area is 40.9 million birds, which is similar to last year's estimate, and 21 percent above the long term average. In the eastern survey area, the numbers of most species are similar to those of last year. Snowmelt occurred much earlier throughout most of the important goose breeding areas and most of North America will see average, or above average fall flights of geese this year.
The Service remains very concerned about both the short and long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill on migratory birds, their habitats, and the resources on which the birds depend. However, current information suggests that regulatory restrictions on waterfowl hunting are unnecessary. From a harvest-management perspective, the Service intends to respond to the ongoing oil spill as it would any other non-hunting factor with the potential for substantial effects on mortality or reproduction – such as hurricanes, disease outbreaks or drought – by monitoring abundance and vital rates of waterfowl and other migratory game birds, and adjusting harvest regulations as needed on the basis of existing harvest strategies.
To see the "Status of Waterfowl" report as well as last year's harvest figures, please see http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/
The mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program is to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of migratory bird populations and their habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring, effective management, and by supporting national and international partnerships that conserve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.