Migratory Bird Hunting; Final Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
Each year, the Service works in partnership with states from the four Flyway Councils (Pacific, Central, Mississippi and Atlantic) to establish regulatory frameworks for hunting season lengths, dates and bag limits. States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks.
The Final rules can be viewed at www.federalregister.gov/
The 2018-19 federal frameworks allow duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways and 74 days in the Central Flyway (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas), with a daily bag limit of six ducks in each of those flyways. Duck hunting frameworks for the Pacific Flyway would allow a 107-day season and a seven-bird daily bag limit. Restrictions within the overall daily bag limit for most duck species stayed the same as those in the 2017-18, but the daily bag limit for pintails increased from 1 to 2 birds nationwide for 2018-19.
A 16-day special September teal season with a six-teal daily bag limit again will be offered in certain states in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways. Dove seasons are 90 days with a 15-bird daily bag limit in the Eastern and Central management units and 60 days with a 15-bird daily limit in the Western Management Unit. A woodcock season length of 45 days is offered in both the Eastern and Central management regions, with a three-bird daily bag limit. Regulations for geese also are largely unchanged from 2017-18 seasons and in several cases are very liberal in an attempt to reduce their abundance (e.g., light geese, resident Canada geese). Additional regulations for these and other species (e.g., sandhill cranes and other webless migratory game birds) also are provided in the final rule.
Although most migratory game bird populations remain abundant, when and where birds will be encountered depends on many factors. Food availability, habitat and weather conditions, and other factors all influence local bird abundance, distribution, behavior and ultimately, hunter success. The Service’s reports on the status and harvest of migratory game bird populations and information about migratory bird management across North America are available on the Migratory Bird homepage.
Under the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, about 170 species are game birds. Fewer than 60 species are typically hunted each year, subject to limits based on data from aerial surveys and other monitoring programs. The Service publishes migratory game bird regulations each year in the Federal Register.