Northern duck hunters begin season Sept. 25

Madison State duck hunters can expect an average season with a
one-week delay in openers between the Northern Zone and Southern
Zone.

Here’s how this year’s 60-day, season will stack up. In both
zones, the six-duck bag limit may include no more than four
mallards (only one may be a hen), one black duck, one pintail, one
canvasback, two wood ducks, two redheads, and three scaup.

The Northern Zone will open at noon on Sept. 25 and continue
through Nov. 23. In the Northern Zone, pintails may only be shot
from Sept. 25 through Oct. 24; canvasbacks may only be taken from
Oct. 16 through Nov. 14.

The Southern Zone will run from noon Oct. 2n10, and again from
Oct. 16 through Dec. 5. In the south, pintails may only be taken
from Oct. 2n10 and Oct. 16 through Nov. 5; canvasbacks may be taken
from Oct. 16 through Nov. 14.

Canada goose seasons

The Exterior Zone goose season will run 95 days, unless the
quota is reached sooner, with a one- or two-bird bag limit. There
will be a 91-day Horicon and a 65-day Collins zone Canada goose
season with a two-bird bag.

Seasons in the Exterior Zone will run (including Brown and Rock
Prairie subzones) as follows.

North Zone: Sept. 18-24 and noon Sept. 25 through Dec. 21; bag
limit one Canada goose from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31 and two Canada
geese from Nov. 1 through Dec. 21;

South Zone: Sept. 18 through Oct. 1 and noon Oct. 2 through Dec
21; bag limit one Canada goose from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31 and
two Canada geese from Nov. 1 through Dec. 21;

Mississippi River Subzone: Oct. 2n10 and Oct. 16 through Dec. 15
(70 days); bag limit one Canada goose from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31
and two geese from Nov. 1 through Dec 15.

Burnett County Subzone: closed.

Horicon/Collins time periods

Hunters with Horicon and Collins permits will be issued up to
three tags for the time period that they are awarded.

The Horicon Zone daily bag limit will be two geese with a
possession limit of three.

Period 1: Sept. 16 n Oct. 17.

Period 2: Sept. 25 n Oct. 29.

Period 3: Oct. 16 n Nov. 19.

Period 4: Nov. 1 n Dec. 15.

The Collins Zone bag limit will be two geese per day, with a
possession limit of three.

Period 1: Sept. 16 n Oct. 3.

Period 2: Oct. 4 n 24.

Period 3: Oct. 25 n Nov. 19.

Other geese

For brant and white-fronted geese, the seasons are the same as
for the Canada goose zones and subzones. The daily bag limit is one
brant and one white-fronted goose. For light geese, the seasons are
the same as for the Canada goose zones and subzones, with a daily
bag limit of 10.

“The 2004 Canada goose season is being impacted by poor spring
breeding conditions in Ontario,” said Kent Van Horn, DNR waterfowl
ecologist. “The early opening (Sept. 18) for the Exterior Zone
should direct more harvest onto our resident giant Canada geese and
away from the migrants. The changing bag limits are designed to
provide the maximum number of goose hunting days while keeping
harvest within the allowable quota. The Exterior Zone could close
early if the quota is reached.”

Hunters must report each Canada goose harvested within 48 hours
by calling (800) 99-GOOSE (994-6673). Hunters can monitor the
Exterior Zone harvest by calling (877) 833-2837.

Duck outlook

Based on breeding surveys, hunters can expect about the average
number of ducks this fall, but the number of ducks hunters see will
largely depend on local weather and water levels. Scouting is
necessary to know local conditions, Van Horn said.

Many of the ducks shot in Wisconsin are local birds.

The total Wisconsin breeding duck population estimate this
spring was 651,000 birds, which is up 22 percent from 2003 and 58
percent above the long-term average based on 2004’s revised
analysis.

Mallard and wood duck numbers were similar to 2003 but above
their long-term averages.

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