FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2002
"Despite mixed habitat conditions that contributed to a reduced harvest, it's encouraging that the total number of hunters rose slightly," according to Tom Melius, the Service's assistant director for Migratory Birds and State Programs. "We will continue to work with states and flyaway councils to increase migratory bird hunting opportunities while fulfilling our conservation responsibilities under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act."
In the Atlantic Flyway, more than 1.6 million ducks were harvested last season, down 13 percent from the 2000-2001 season. The average hunter harvested six ducks. South Carolina hunters led in the flyway, averaging nearly 12 ducks per person and harvesting 254,000 ducks total.
Hunters took an average of 9.4 ducks each and harvested more than 6.6 million ducks in states along the Mississippi Flyway last season, down 16 percent from the previous season.
In states in the Central Flyway, hunters bagged more than 3.4 million ducks last season. This is 6 percent more than the harvest in 2000-2001. Hunters averaged nearly 7.7 ducks each, also six percent more than the previous season. Hunters in Texas harvested nearly 1.5 million ducks, nine percent more than the previous season.
In the Pacific Flyway, hunters harvested a total of nearly 2.2 million ducks total and nearly 9.3 ducks apiece last season. This is five percent down from the previous season's estimate. California hunters harvested the most ducks in the flyway, bringing in more than 964,000 ducks. Their average harvest fell three percent to nearly 12.9 ducks per hunter.
Mallards were the most hunted duck in the United States, with more than 5.2 million birds harvested last season. Mallards were followed by gadwall at nearly 1.6 million birds, green-winged teal at more than 1.4 million birds, blue-winged and cinnamon teal at more than 1.3 million birds and wood ducks at nearly 1.1 million birds.
The Service generates the estimates contained in this report based on surveys of selected waterfowl hunters, through it's Harvest Information Program. These surveys allow state wildlife agencies and the Service to develop estimates of the number of all migratory birds harvested throughout the country and national estimates that help the Service establish the next hunting season and maintain healthy waterfowl populations.
The entire report, Preliminary Estimates of Waterfowl Harvest and Hunter Activity in the United States During the 2001 Hunting Season, is available on the Service's web site at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/reports/reports.html.
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 nearly 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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 Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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