The Atlantic Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Division of Migratory Bird Management have developed a new adaptive harvest management strategy to guide annual hunting regulations for mallards in the Atlantic Flyway. The fundamental objectives of the new strategy are to sustain an eastern mallard population that meets legal mandates (e.g., Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and provides consumptive and non-consumptive uses indefinitely. The new strategy is predicated on an integrated population model (IPM) of eastern mallard population dynamics that accounts for uncertainty regarding the effects of harvest on the eastern mallard population. The integrated population model uses current monitoring data including breeding population abundance, pre- and post-season banding data, hunter recovered banded birds, and parts collection data. The new strategy includes four regulatory alternatives: liberal (4-bird daily bag limit with 2 hen restriction); moderate (2-bird daily bag limit with a 1 hen restriction); restrictive (1-bird daily bag limit with a 1 hen restriction); and closed. The season length for eastern mallards is prescribed by the Atlantic Flyway Multi-stock Adaptive Harvest Management Strategy (60-day; 45-day, or 30-day season length). The new eastern mallard harvest strategy will be used starting with the 2023-24 hunting season.
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