News Release

July 27, 2012

Waterfowl Hunting Late Season Frameworks Proposed

Media Contacts:
Alicia King, 571-214-3117
Noemi Perez, 703-358-2688

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced proposed hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2012-13 late waterfowl seasons.

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 also include a full season on pintails with a two bird daily bag limit nationwide, and a full season on canvasbacks with a one bird daily bag limit nationwide. The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.

States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. Flyway-specific highlights of the proposed late-season frameworks in Oregon, Washington and Idaho are as follows:

Pacific Flyway (Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming):

Ducks: States are allowed a 107-day general duck season between September 22, 2012, and January 27, 2013. The proposed daily bag limit is 7 ducks, including no more than 2 mallard hens, 2 redheads, 2 pintails and 1 canvasback.

Geese: 107-day seasons are proposed for the Pacific Flyway between September 29, 2012, and March 10, 2013. Proposed basic daily bag limits are up to 10 light geese and 6 dark geese. There are many 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 2-bird daily limit. Washington and California are able to choose seasons in each of the two zones described in state regulations.

The Service's 2012 Waterfowl Population Status Report summarizes information on the status of duck and goose populations and habitat conditions during spring of 2012. In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada and Alaska, the 2012 total duck population estimate was 48.6 million birds, an increase of 7 percent over last year's estimate. Despite poorer habitat conditions compared to 2011, population abundance estimates are good for this breeding season. The total pond estimate for prairie Canada and the US combined was 5.5 million, which is down 32 percent from last year.

The annual survey results guide the Service's waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Each year the Service works in partnership with states from the four flyways to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits. All of this information represents the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world and helps provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations.

The Status of Waterfowl report can be found at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/. To view a video of the Status of Waterfowl video visit: http://flyways.us/status-of-waterfowl/video-report/.

The mission of the 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.