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Natural Resources Board makes small changes to waterfowl hunting

The first of the 2019 migratory game bird seasons will open with the early goose seasons, mourning dove and early teal seasons. Duluth News Tribune file

Migratory game bird hunters in Wisconsin will see some changes in 2019 compared to previous years under a rule approved by the state Natural Resources Board at its Wednesday, April 10, meeting in Madison.

These season frameworks were based on federal guidelines, public comments, input from conservation and hunting groups as well as from results from a waterfowl hunter survey. The waterfowl program expanded its outreach efforts this year to collect public input by using an online input tool and broader outreach via Facebook and email distribution.

More than 300,000 people received an email asking for public input, and through the department reached more than 51,000 people through social media. These outreach efforts increased participation in public comment on waterfowl season structure by more than 1,000 percent over previous years.

The first of the 2019 migratory game bird seasons will open with the early goose seasons (Canada and light geese), mourning dove and early teal seasons. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons will include a 60-day duck season and a 92-day regular goose season.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:

• Early teal season length has increased to nine days.

• The three duck zones will open on a single statewide opener for the north, south and Mississippi zones on Sept. 28.

• A second split in the south Canada goose zone results in a goose season that is open during the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

• An increase in the black duck bag limit (from one to two) and a decrease in pintail daily bag limit (from two to one) is based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.

As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.

Early season dates are as follows:

• Early Teal, Sept. 1-9 six teal (blue-winged or green-winged) per day, sunrise to sunset shooting hours;

• Early Goose, Sept. 1-15: five Canada geese per day, 20 light geese per day (Snow/Blue and Ross');

• Mourning Dove, Sept. 1 to Nov. 29: 15 birds per day; and

• Woodcock, Sept. 21 to Nov. 4: three birds per day.

Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows:

• Opening day shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise for all regular waterfowl hunting seasons.

• Youth hunt, Sept. 14-15;

• North zone, Sept. 28 to Nov. 26;

• South Zone, Sept. 28 to Oct. 6 and Oct. 12 to Dec. 1 (five-day split); and

• Mississippi Zone, Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 and Oct. 12 to Dec. 3, seven-day split, closed Oct. 5-11.

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than four mallards (only one hen; two black ducks; two canvasbacks; three wood ducks; one pintail; three scaup; and two redheads. Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded.

Regular goose season dates are Sept. 16 to Dec. 16 in the north zone; Sept. 16 to Oct. 6, Oct. 12 to Dec. 1 and Dec. 16 to Jan. 4 in the south zone; and Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 and Oct. 12 to Jan. 4 in the Mississippi zone.

With the elimination of the Horicon Canada goose management zone, the state now has a single statewide goose hunting zone for the regular season. The Mississippi River is a subzone within the statewide zone.

For more information, search dnr.wi.gov for keyword "waterfowl."

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