Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
Select this button stylePrint Friendly

A pair of duck hunters wade toward the prize. Photo by Tim Donovan/Creative Commons

A pair of duck hunters wade toward the prize. Photo by Tim Donovan/Creative Commons.

Service proposes 2018-19 migratory bird hunting season frameworks

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced it is proposing game bird season lengths and bag limits for the 2018-19 hunting seasons that are essentially unchanged from those of last year.

These limits are based on results from monitoring programs that indicated most species remain at or above population objectives. 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 proposed rules can be viewed on the Federal Register website.

The 2018-19 federal frameworks propose 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. Proposed 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 stayed the same as those in the 2017-18 season, except that the daily bag limit for pintails increased from 1 to 2 birds nationwide.

A 16-day special September teal season with a six-bird daily bag limit is proposed to continue to be offered in certain states in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways. Proposed 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 proposed in both the Eastern and Central management regions, with a three-bird daily bag limit. Proposed 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). Regulations for other species (e.g., sandhill cranes and other webless migratory game birds) also are provided in the proposal.

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.

By Larry Dean
Regional Office - External Affairs

A hunting dog paddles to shore with the prize after a day of duck hunting. Photo courtesy of Guy Huntley/Creative Commons.

A hunting dog paddles to shore with the prize during a day of duck hunting. Photo courtesy of Guy Huntley/Creative Commons.

Last updated: June 8, 2020