2013’s early teal bag will be heavier

Columbus — This fall, early-teal-season hunters will have an opportunity to bag more ducks.

Additionally, if the Department of Interior finalizes the waterfowl harvest regulations as initially proposed, the possession limit would increase.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a six-teal bag limit for early teal season and a possession limit for all seasons equivalent to three daily bag limits. Current limits are a four-teal daily bag during the special season and a possession limit of two daily bag limits.

Ohio wildlife management officials concurred, passing regulations that will allow for a bag limit of six teal during the early season and a possession limit of 18 birds after the third day of hunting. The early teal season runs from Sept. 7-22.

Bag limits on Canada geese also will be increased during the early season. The bag limit has been increased from four to five birds and a possession limit of 15 after the second day. The early Canada goose season is open from Sept. 1-15, according to rules passed by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Ducks Unlimited is pleased to see the changes.

“Ducks Unlimited is always pleased to see increased opportunities for waterfowl hunting,” said Dale Humburg, DU chief scientist. “Harvest regulations are biologically based, and teal population trends have certainly been favorable in recent years.”

Habitat conditions in the prairie pothole region have generally been wet and favorable for the last several years, laying the foundation for excellent nesting success for prairie nesters. Habitat conservation efforts by DU and others across North America have also served to bolster waterfowl populations.

“To date, Ducks Unlimited has helped conserved more than 13 million acres of important waterfowl habitat across the continent, but we cannot rest on that success,” Humburg said. “Despite record numbers in the breeding waterfowl survey over the last few years, if left unchecked, all prairie-breeding ducks will be negatively impacted by the continuing trend of wetland and grassland losses.”

The higher possession limit will be especially helpful for the thousands of waterfowl hunters who travel for hunting trips each year and want to take their harvest home with them. If approved, they will be able to possess up to three daily bag limits at a time, rather than two. For hunters that take week-long trips across the country to harvest waterfowl, this change will make a difference. Because state regulations may vary within the federal framework, DU reminds hunters to check state-specific regulations before heading to the marsh.

“If you support waterfowl conservation efforts in North America, you can look upon these regulation changes as the fruits of your labor,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “If you do not currently support waterfowl conservation, please consider helping ensure that future generations have the same chance to experience the majesty of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife that you have.”

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