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Northwest Sportsman Magazine

USFWS Proposes Waterfowl Seasons

(U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE PRESS RELEASE)

Washington D.C.  -   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced proposed hunting season lengths for the upcoming 2011-2012 late waterfowl seasons. The proposed federal frameworks include duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas), and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway.

The proposed frameworks also include a full season on pintails with a 2 bird daily bag limit in nationwide, and a full season on canvasbacks with a 1 bird daily bag limit nation-wide.

WATERFOWLERS ONCE AGAIN WILL BE HUNTING DEEP INTO WINTER IN THE PACIFIC FLYWAY. THE U.S.F.W.S IS PROPOSING ANOTHER 107-DAY DUCK SEASON. RANDY BELLES AND HIS COUSIN, DAN, TOOK THIS MIXED BAG ON THE UPPER COLUMBIA IN DECEMBER 2008. (RUGER PHOTO CONTEST)

States select their season from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest season beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for
public comment. Flyway-specific highlights of the proposed late-season frameworks are below:

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 24, 2011, and January 29, 2012. The proposed daily bag limit is 7 ducks, including no more than 2 mallard hens, 2 redheads, 2 pintails and 1 canvasback. In addition, an 86 day season for scaup can be chosen with a daily bag limit of 3.

-  Geese: 107-day seasons are proposed for the Pacific Flyway between September 24, 2011, and March 10, 2012. Proposed basic daily bag limits are up to 10 light geese and 4 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 2-bird daily limit. Washington and California are able to choose seasons in each of the two zones described in state regulations.

The Service’s 2011 Waterfowl Population Status Report summarizes information about the status of duck and goose populations and habitat conditions during spring of 2011. The preliminary estimate of total ducks from the 2011 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey was 45.6 million birds. This estimate represents an 11% increase over last year’s estimate of 40.8 million birds and is 35% above the long-term average. The 2011 total pond estimates (in Prairie Canada and the United States combined) was 8.1 million, an increase of 22% over last year and a 62% increase above the long-term average.

Annual survey results guides the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service works in partnership with state biologists from the four flyways ? the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific ? to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits. Combined, these results form the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world. They help provide equitable hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations.

To see the “Status of Waterfowl” report as well as last year’s harvest figures, please see http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/. To view a video of the Status of Waterfowl video visit: http://flyways.us/status-of-waterfowl/video-report/.

The mission of the Service’s Migratory Bird Program is to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of  migratory bird populations and their habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring, effective management, and by supporting national and international partnerships that conserve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

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