Waterfowl hunting season brings significant changes
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin DNR today announced that there are significant changes from previous years that Wisconsin waterfowl hunters can expect ahead of the 2021 season opener.
The 2021 season will include a new duck zone structure. The former Mississippi River Zone has merged into the Southern Zone, and a new Open Water Zone has been created in the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
The 2021 migratory game bird season starts Sept. 1 with openers for early goose, mourning dove and early teal. Regular waterfowl hunting will run for a 60-day season, with open and close dates set by the harvest zone. The Northern Zone opens Sept. 25, the Southern Zone opens Oct. 2 and the new Open Water Zone on Lake Michigan opens Oct. 16. Based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s season framework, there will be a scaup bag limit of one scaup for 15 days and two scaups for 45 days.
Goose hunters will have a 92-day regular goose season, which includes two splits to allow hunting during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The South Canada Goose Zone has a daily bag limit of three Canada geese during the first portion of the season and five Canada geese during the Holiday Hunt (Dec. 20-Jan. 4).
In addition to zone and date changes, hunters will see a state waterfowl stamp fee increase from $7 to $12 to adjust for inflation since the last increase 24 years ago. Numerous conservation groups, including Ducks Unlimited and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, advocated for the fee increase. Stamp fees fund crucial waterfowl habitat restoration work across the state to improve breeding, bird health and hunter opportunity.
Before the season begins, the DNR is partnering with multiple waterfowl conservation organizations to host the inaugural Waterfowl Hunter’s Expo on Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh. The DNR’s migratory game bird biologist, Taylor Finger, will be on-site to answer questions and talk about everything waterfowl. The event will feature plenty of hands-on exhibits and booths from industry experts, habitat managers and waterfowl scientists. The event is family and dog-friendly.