MADISON — Migratory game bird hunters in Wisconsin pursuing ducks, geese, doves, woodcock and other migratory game birds will see some notable changes in 2018.
The final season framework was approved by the state Natural Resources Board at its April 11 meeting in Madison, the DNR said in a news release announcing the regs.
The first of the 2018 migratory game bird seasons will open with the early Canada goose, mourning dove and early teal seasons starting on Sept. 1. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons will include a 60-day duck season which will start with a statewide opener on Sept. 29 and 92-day regular goose season, which will have two splits to allow hunting during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Highlights from the approved season structure include:
- North duck zone will open one week later than in previous years, resulting in a single statewide opener for the North, South and Mississippi zones on Sept. 29.
- Elimination of the Horicon Canada goose Management Zone (resulting in a single statewide regular goose zone).
- Increase in the daily Canada goose bag limit to three birds per day.
- A second split in the South Canada goose zone resulting in a goose season that is open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
- Increase in the pintail daily bag limit (from one to two) based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.
As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.
Early season dates are as follows:
- Early Teal – Sept. 1-7 (six birds per day, Sunrise – Sunset Shooting Hours);
- Early Goose – Sept. 1-15 (five birds per day);
- Mourning Dove – Sept. 1 to Nov. 29 (15 birds per day); and
- Woodcock – Sept. 22 to Nov. 5 (three birds per day).
Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows (opening-day shooting hours would begin one-half hour before sunrise for all regular waterfowl hunting seasons):
- Youth Hunt – Sept. 15-16.
- North Zone – Sept. 29 to Nov. 27.
- South Zone – Sept. 29 to Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 (five-day split).
- Mississippi Zone – Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 4 (seven-day split, closed Oct. 6-12).
The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:
- Four mallards, of which only one may be a hen.
- One black duck.
- Two canvasbacks.
- Three wood ducks.
- Two pintails.
- Three scaup.
- Two redheads.
Five mergansers can be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded.
Regular goose season dates – Exterior Zone (92 days total):
- North – Sept. 16 to Dec. 16.
- South – Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 (5-day Split) and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 (13-day split) and Dec. 16-Jan. 3, 2019.
- Mississippi – Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 and Oct. 13 to Jan. 3.