Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Some change in waterfowl dates

Springfield – Canvasbacks are back in play and duck hunters in
the state’s central and south zones will see slight changes to
their respective opening days.

That’s the word from DNR, which had its proposed waterfowl
seasons approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regulations
Committee.

In store for duck hunters statewide is another 60-day season.
Ray Marshalla, the state’s waterfowl biologist, said the seasons
follow the five-year plan for waterfowl hunting that was
implemented in 2006. The 2009 version includes opening the north
zone duck and Canada goose seasons on Oct. 17. The central zone
duck opener will be nearly a week later than last year, this time
falling on Oct. 31.

Canada goose seasons will open on Nov. 14 in the south zone.
Duck hunting in the south zone also opens on Nov. 14, which is a
little earlier than the Thanksgiving Day opener of the past few
seasons.

“We take a hard look at hunter surveys and try to provide what
the hunters want in a season opener,” Marshalla explained. “Some
hunters want an earlier season, some want a later season. We try to
balance it.”

According to Marshalla, results of the 2008 Illinois Waterfowl
Hunter Survey indicate that 58 percent of hunters in the north zone
and 60 percent of hunters in the central zone felt last year’s duck
season dates were about right.

However, 43 percent of hunters in the south zone believed last
year’s duck season dates were about right. The survey indicated
that 50 percent of south zone hunters prefer that the season start
on Nov. 14 or earlier, compared with 43 percent who want the season
to start on Nov. 26.

“A lot of it has to do with conditions, such as ice,” Marshalla
said. “Some years the hunters in the south may lose days because of
early ice. The hunters wanting an earlier season are likely taking
that into account.”

Later seasons were offered in the south zone for the past four
years.

Marshalla noted that the DNR committee made a point of not
scheduling the duck opener the same weekend as the firearms deer
season. In fact, about two-thirds of south zone hunters surveyed
objected to the season opening the same weekend as firearms deer
season, he added.

“The last time that happened we got more than 300 phone calls
right off the bat complaining about it,” he said.

Of note this season is a bag limit of one canvasback during the
60-day duck season. Canvasbacks were off-limits last season.

In addition to the dates for the regular waterfowl hunting
seasons, DNR also announced regulations for teal hunting and early
Canada goose hunting in September.

The early-season goose hunt is scheduled for Sept. 1-15, while
the teal season is Sept. 5-20.

The 2009 regular Canada goose seasons include an 85-day season
in the north zone (Oct. 17-Jan. 9), a split 85-day season in the
central zone (Oct. 31-Nov. 15 and Nov. 24-Jan. 31), and a split
66-day season in the south zone (Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 29-Jan.
31).

The Illinois snow goose seasons for 2009 will open on the same
dates as the regular waterfowl seasons and run continuously through
the end of each zone’s regular Canada goose season.

The September Canada goose season (Sept. 1-15) includes a daily
bag limit of five geese in the northeast, north and central zones
and two geese per day in the south zone. Illinois’ 16-day teal
hunting season will be Sept. 5-20.

The state’s regulations remain subject to final formal approval
by the USFWS, likely in September.

DNR contributed to this report.

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