Some bag limits change and new opportunities for open water duck hunting
MADISON – Hunters looking forward to the opening of Wisconsin’s 2013 duck season in the North and the Mississippi River zones on Sept. 21 should find good numbers of ducks, according to Department of Natural Resources officials.
“Although a few areas have been seeing lowering water levels, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters should have a good season,” said Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist. “Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 58 years reported near record numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with excellent continental breeding indications, local water levels and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall.”
Many of the ducks harvested in Wisconsin come from birds that breed in the state’s wetlands. The four most abundant ducks in Wisconsin’s fall hunting harvest are mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal, and blue-winged teal, Van Horn said.
As hunters prepare for the season opener there are some important regulation details and changes that should be noted, said Van Horn.
The daily bag limit is six ducks in total, not to include more than four mallards of which only one may be a hen, three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, three scaup, two pintail, and two canvasback.
Two important changes to the daily bag limits, which were made in response to annual population estimates, are a decrease in the daily bag limit for scaup from four to three and an increase in the daily bag limit for canvasback from one to two. The possession limit has also been increased from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit across the country.
The duck hunt in the northern zone opens at 9 a.m. on Sept. 21, and continues through Nov. 19.
The Mississippi river zone also opens at 9 a.m. on Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 29, followed by a 12-day split, reopening on Oct. 12 and running until Dec. 1. After opening day in each respective zone, hunting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise. The southern zone duck season will open the following week at 9 a.m. on Sept. 28, run through Oct. 6, then close and reopen Oct. 12 through Dec. 1.
“Because of a shifting federal regulatory calendar these opening days are the earliest possible date so there may be more than the usual number of other recreational users out on the water for opening day of duck season,” advised Van Horn. “All lake users should respect others on the waterways. Wisconsin’s waters offer a multitude of opportunities, and successful sharing of these areas requires cooperation and compromise from each and every person.”