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Feds propose liberal waterfowl seasons again

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The USFWS has proposed liberal waterfowl seasons, including a 60-day duck season for the Mississippi Flyway.

Also of note for the Mississippi Flyway, the season on harlequin ducks and canvasbacks would be closed, the daily bag on wood ducks would go to three and scaup may have a hybrid season.

geese5-24-08townpondx

Here's Mississippi Flyway stuff, followed by the complete release from the USFWS.

Mississippi Flyway (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin):

Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between September 27, 2008, and January 25, 2009. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three mottled ducks, three wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck and one pintail. There is no open season for canvasbacks. A hybrid season would be allowed for scaup during which the daily bag limit would be two for no more than 20 consecutive days and one bird for the remaining 40 days. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded
mergansers.

Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada geese would be held between September 27, 2008, and January 31, 2009, and vary in length among States and areas, with daily bag limits varying from one to three. States would be able to select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 27, 2008, and March 10, 2009; for white-fronted geese this proposed season would not exceed 72 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 86 days with a one-bird daily bag limit between September 27, 2008, and February 15, 2009; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with a two-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a one- bird daily bag limit between September 27, 2008, and January 31, 2009. There would be no possession limit for light geese.

Here's the complete press release.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed continuation of liberal hunting season lengths for the upcoming 2008-2009 late waterfowl seasons. Duck hunting season lengths would be 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway, and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway. However, in three flyways, the Service Regulations Committee recommends closing the canvasback season due to low populations and restricting scaup harvest due to long-term population declines. Given increasing wood duck populations, the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways would get an extra wood duck in the daily bag limit.

"All the information on the status of waterfowl populations and habitat
conditions is now in and has been carefully analyzed by our biologists,"
said Service Director H. Dale Hall. "Though pond and duck numbers are down
from the last few years on the breeding grounds, they remain above the
thresholds necessary for a liberal season, and that is what we are
proposing this year."

"We have taken steps to conserve scaup and canvasback populations,"
continued Hall. "Following our recently adopted scaup harvest strategy, the
Service is reducing hunting pressure on scaup to ensure a harvest we
believe the population can support. Unfortunately, canvasback numbers were
below the level that would permit a nationwide harvest."


States select their season from within the frameworks which establish the
outer limits of season length, bag limits and season beginning and ending
date.


Brief highlights of the proposed nationwide frameworks are below:

• Due to the ongoing "Hunters' Choice" experiment in the Central
Flyway, that flyway would continue with regulations similar to last year.
Canvasback and scaup seasons would be unchanged. The Hunter's Choice bag
limit is an aggregate bag intended to reduce the harvest of species with
lower abundance. For example, hunters are allowed only one pintail,
canvasback or mottled duck in the bag while maintaining full hunting
opportunity on abundant species such as drake mallards.
• The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways would be allowed an increase
from two to three wood ducks in the bag limit.
• A full season on pintails with a one bird daily bag limit would be
offered nation-wide, similar to last year.
• After a record canvasback population estimate last year, followed by
this year's low estimate, Service staff reviewed survey methods, data and
analytical procedures and found nothing unusual. Declines in canvasbacks
counted were widespread, occurring in the same areas that experienced
increases last year. Based on the harvest estimate from last year's
seasons, it is clear that harvest alone is not responsible for the drop.
Canvasback estimates typically have higher variation than for many other
species. Although it is possible that the large change in the population
estimate is simply the result of normal sampling variation, the Service has
no data to suggest this year's population estimate is not accurate. Using
this estimate and the approved Canvasback Harvest Strategy, the allowable
harvest this year did not permit a nationwide canvasback season. There was
sufficient allowable harvest to permit the Central Flyway to continue their
Hunter's Choice experiment, and all Flyways recommended they be allowed to
do so.

The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August
edition of the Federal Register for public comment and on <
http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/fedreg/MGBHR.HTML>. To see the "Status of
Waterfowl" report and video as well as last year's harvest figures, please
see .


Flyway specific highlights of the proposed late-season frameworks are
below:


Atlantic Flyway (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West
Virginia):


Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between
September 27, 2008, and January 25, 2009. The proposed daily bag limit is
six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood
ducks, two redheads, two hooded mergansers, one black duck, one pintail,
one mottled duck, one fulvous whistling duck, and four scoters. The season
on harlequin ducks and canvasbacks is closed. A hybrid regulation for scaup
would be allowed, consisting of a two-bird bag limit for any 20 consecutive
hunting days and one scaup per day for the remainder of the season.


Geese: For light geese, states would be able to select a 107-day season
between October 1, 2008, and March 10, 2009, with a daily bag limit of 15
birds and no possession limit. Seasons for Canada geese would vary in
length among states and areas depending on the populations of birds that
occur in those areas. The daily bag limit would be five birds in hunt
zones established for resident populations of Canada geese. In hunt zones
established for migratory populations, bag limits would be three or fewer
and would vary among states and areas. For Atlantic brant, the season
length may be 60 days with a daily bag limit of three.


Mississippi Flyway (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and
Wisconsin):


Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between
September 27, 2008, and January 25, 2009. The proposed daily bag limit is
six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three mottled
ducks, three wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck and one pintail.
There is no open season for canvasbacks. A hybrid season would be allowed
for scaup during which the daily bag limit would be two for no more than 20
consecutive days and one bird for the remaining 40 days. The proposed
daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded
mergansers.


Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada geese would be held between September
27, 2008, and January 31, 2009, and vary in length among States and areas,
with daily bag limits varying from one to three. States would be able to
select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily
between September 27, 2008, and March 10, 2009; for white-fronted geese
this proposed season would not exceed 72 days with a two-bird daily bag
limit or 86 days with a one-bird daily bag limit between September 27,
2008, and February 15, 2009; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with
a two-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a one- bird daily bag limit
between September 27, 2008, and January 31, 2009. There would be no
possession limit for light geese.


Central Flyway (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota,
Texas, and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming):


Ducks: Duck seasons are proposed to be held between September 27, 2008, and
January 25, 2009. In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit (roughly west
of the 100th Meridian), a 97-day season is proposed. The last 23 days would
be able to start no earlier than December 13, 2008. A 74-day season is
proposed for the remainder of the Central Flyway. This is the third and
final year of the 3-year evaluation of the Hunter's Choice duck bag limit
in the Central Flyway.


The Hunter's Choice bag limit is an aggregate bag, of which only one duck
from the following may be taken: hen mallard, canvasback, pintail, or
mottled duck. Five States (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, and
Texas) have been randomly assigned to have Hunter's Choice regulations and
the remaining five States (Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New
Mexico) will serve as controls (season within a season regulations for
canvasbacks and pintails) as the evaluation proceeds.


In Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, the daily bag
limit would be 6 ducks, with species and sex restrictions as follows:
mallard -- five, no more than two of which may be females; redhead, scaup,
wood duck -- two; pintail, mottled duck, canvasback -- one. For pintails and
canvasbacks, the season length would be 39 days, which may be split
according to applicable zones/split duck hunting configurations approved
for each state. The possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit. In
North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, and Texas, the daily bag limit
would be five ducks, with species and sex restrictions as follows: scaup,
redhead and wood duck -- two; only one duck from the following group -- hen
mallard, mottled duck, pintail, canvasback. The possession limit would be
twice the daily bag.


Geese: Under the proposal, States may select seasons between September 27,
2008 and February 15, 2009 for dark geese and between September 27, 2008
and March 10, 2009 for light geese. East tier states would be able to
select a 107-day season for Canada geese season with a daily bag limit of
three. For white-fronted geese, states would be able to select either a
72-day season with a daily bag limit of two birds or an 86-day season with
a daily bag limit of one bird. In the West Tier, states may select a
107-day dark- goose season with a daily bag limit of five birds. In the
Western Goose Zone of Texas, the State would be able to select a 95-day
season with a daily bag limit of four dark geese (including no more than
one white-fronted goose). Colorado would be able to select a 107-day season
with an aggregate bag limit of four. For light geese, all states would be
able to select a 107-day season with a daily bag limit of 20 and no
possession limit.


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


Ducks: Under the proposal, states are allowed a 107-day general duck season
between September 27, 2008, and January 25, 2009. The proposed daily bag
limit is seven ducks, including no more than two mallard hens, two redheads
and one pintail. In addition, an 86 day season for scaup can be chosen
with a daily bag limit of two. The canvasback season is closed.


Geese: 107-day seasons are proposed for the Pacific Flyway with outside
dates between September 27, 2008, and March 10, 2009. Proposed basic daily
bag limits are up to 10 light geese and four dark geese. There are
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 two-bird daily limit. Washington and
California would be able to choose seasons in each of the two zones.

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4 splash limit please

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 1, 2008 9:44 PM.

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