News Release

Waterfowl Hunting Season Proposed: Liberal Season for All Flyways

July 29, 2005



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing hunting regulations for the upcoming 2005-2006 waterfowl season similar to those set last year with a few exceptions. The proposal again contains restrictions on harvest of canvasbacks because of continuing concerns about population status as well as a reduction of one scaup in the daily bag limit per flyway. Given the increase in pintail numbers this year, the season for pintail has been restored to a one bird-per-day bag limit all season for the Atlantic, Mississippi and Pacific Flyways.

Under the Services late-season frameworks proposal, hunting season lengths will be 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway, and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway.

"Overall, the habitat and populations of key waterfowl species are sufficient to justify the hunting opportunity these regulations afford," said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan. "All flyway councils joined the Service in supporting these regulations."

Estimates of canvasback numbers were similar to last year and the Service will continue last years restriction. Seasons for canvasbacks will be 60 days in the Pacific Flyway, 39 days in the Central Flyway, and 30 days in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways.

As the breeding population for pintail is up, last years shortened season for pintail has been replaced with a one-duck bag limit for the entire season in three flyways. At the request of the Central Flyway, states will be offered a 39-day pintail and canvasback season to complete a 3-year evaluation of this option for reducing harvest pressure on these species.

The scaup population estimate has experienced a significant long-term decline and this years estimate is the lowest on record. The Service is proposing to reduce the daily bag limit by one bird in all flyways. The Service and Flyways may need to consider additional restrictions in the future if these trends continue.

"Given the continued long term decline of scaup, it is important that harvest on these birds be reduced," said Hogan.

Restrictions on the harvest of black ducks in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways that have been in place for a number of years will continue.

This proposal will appear in the Federal Register for public comment and on http://migratorybirds.fws.gov soon.

Highlights of the proposed late-season frameworks follow.

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 of not more than 60 days (30 days for canvasbacks) between September 24, 2005, and January 29, 2006. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), two wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads, one black duck, one pintail, one mottled duck, one fulvous whistling duck, one canvasback, and four scoters. The season on harlequin ducks is closed.

Geese: For light geese, states may select a 107-day season between October 1, 2005, and March 10, 2006, with a daily bag limit of 15 geese and no possession limit. For Atlantic Population Canada geese, the season this year will allow portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont and New York to hold a 45-day season between the October 22, 2006, and January 31, 2006 with a three-bird daily bag limit. Delaware, Maryland and Virginia (except Back Bay, Virginia) will be allowed to hold a 45-day season in Atlantic Population areas between November 15, 2005 and January 31, 2006, with a two-bird bag limit. Back Bay, Virginia, and the Northeast Hunt Unit of North Carolina may select a 15-day season between January 14 and January 31 with a one-bird daily bag and a one bird per season, respectively. In Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island, New York, a 60-day season on North Atlantic Population Canada geese is proposed between October 1, 2005, and January 31, 2006, with a three-bird daily bag limit. Special or experimental seasons and regular seasons to harvest resident and other populations of migratory Canada geese are authorized in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. For Atlantic brant, the season length may be 30 days with a daily bag limit of two.

Mississippi Flyway: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin

Ducks: A hunting season of not more than 60 days (30 days canvasbacks) between September 24, 2005, and January 29, 2006. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three mottled ducks, two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, one pintail, and one canvasback. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only one of which may be a hooded merganser.

Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada geese may be held between September 24, 2005, and January 31, 2006, and vary in length among States and areas, with daily bag limits varying from one to three. States may select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 24, 2005, and March 10, 2006; for white-fronted geese not to exceed 72 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 86 days with a one-bird daily bag limit between September 24, 2005, and February 12, 2006; and for brant not to exceed 70 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a one- bird daily bag limit between September 24, 2005, and January 31, 2006. There is 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 may be held between September 24, 2005, and January 29, 2006. In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit (roughly west of the 100th Meridian), a 97-day season (39 days each for canvasbacks and pintails) is proposed. The last 23 days may start no earlier than December 10, 2005. A 74-day season (39 days each for canvasbacks and pintails) is proposed for the remainder of the Central Flyway. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than five mallards (two hens), two redheads, two scaup, two wood ducks, one mottled duck, one pintail, and one canvasback.

Geese: States may select seasons between September 24, 2005 and February 12, 2006 for dark geese and between September 24, 2005 and March 10, 2006 for light geese. In the East Tier, states may select a 95-day season for Canada geese, with a daily bag limit of three. In the Eastern Goose Zone of Texas, the State may select an alternative 107-day season with a daily bag limit of one. For white-fronted geese, states may select either an 72-day season with a daily bag limit of 2 birds or a 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 may select a 95-day season with a daily bag limit of three dark geese (including no more than one white-fronted goose). Colorado, may select a 95-day season with an aggregate bag limit of three. For light geese, all states may 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: A 107-day season between September 24, 2004, and January 29, 2006. The proposed daily bag limit is seven ducks, including no more than two mallard hens, two redheads, three scaup and one pintail. Canvasbacks will be limited to one bird daily and open for only a 60-day period of the regular duck season.

Geese: 100-day seasons for California, Oregon, and Washington, with outside dates between September 24, and January 29. Basic daily bag limits are four light geese and four dark geese, except in California, Oregon, and Washington, where the dark goose bag limit does not include brant. 107-day seasons, with outside dates between September 24, and January 29 may be selected in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Basic daily bag limits are four light geese and four dark geese. Other restrictions vary by State and zone. For brant, the season lengths are 16 days in Oregon, eight days in Washington and 15 days in California, with a two-bird daily limit. Washington and California may choose seasons in each of two zones.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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