The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

August 18, 2013

Service looking into extending waterfowl seasons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing continued liberal hunting season lengths and bag limits for the upcoming 2013-14 late waterfowl seasons.

The annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys guide the Service’s waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

All of this information represents the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world, and helps provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations.

States select their individual seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits.

The Service’s 2013 Waterfowl Population Status Report summarizes information on the status of duck and goose populations and habitat conditions during spring of 2013. Overall, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season.

In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska, the 2013 total duck population estimate was 45.6 million birds, a decrease of six percent from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million, but still 33 percent above the long-term average (1955-2012).

In the Mississippi Flyway (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and

Wisconsin):

n Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between Sept. 21 and Jan. 26. The proposed daily bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, one mottled duck, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails, one black duck, and two canvasbacks. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded mergansers. In states that include mergansers in the duck bag limit, the daily limit is the same as the duck bag limit, only two which may be hooded mergansers.

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