Waterfowl

Duck hunting ’10: More water, and more options

By Dean Bortz Editor Madison – Duck numbers are one thing; the location of those ducks is quite another. And it's locating those ducks that could stymie hunters this fall, despite the fact that state duck numbers are 21 percent above the long-term average, according to two avid duck hunters – Kent Van Horn, of Madison, and Don Kirby, of…

Will Dakota ducks head east?

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor St. Paul – Ducks of several species returning north last spring likely surveyed conditions in the eastern Dakotas, decided to conserve some energy, and set their wings. Surveys indicate, most notably, mallards and pintails congregated in much higher numbers in the Dakotas than in prairie Canada during this spring's breeding season. Opinions vary, but most…

Positive outlook for duck season

Springfield – First the bad news: Illinois duck hunters had an awful 2009 season, harvesting the fewest ducks since 2004. The good news: Migrating ducks don't dwell on the past. Besides, they read weather – not statistics. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, duck populations are in good shape, though experienced waterfowlers are cautious about local food, water…

Burnsville artist wins 2011 duck stamp competition

St. Paul — A red-breasted merganser painted by Kevin Nelson of Burnsville will be featured on the 2011 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp. Nelson's painting was chosen as the winning design from among 23 entries in the stamp contest sponsored by the Minnesota DNR on Thursday, Sept. 9. Eight entries advanced to the second stage of judging, from which three finalists…

DNR to survey waterfowlers after 2010-11 season ends

Bemidji, Minn. – As it does every few years, the DNR will survey waterfowl hunters after the upcoming season. It will ask about duck hunters' experiences and from where they derive their satisfaction as it relates to duck hunting. It will ask about season structure and the possibility of duck zones or split seasons. It may even ask when hunters…

State waterfowlers get another 60-day season

Escanaba, Mich. – Michigan waterfowl hunters will have two separate openers for duck seasons, with the North and Middle zones sharing the same opening day. The Middle and South zones will have split seasons, and the North Zone will run a straight 60 days. Regular goose season will open the same day as duck seasons in the Lower Peninsula and…

Ohio gets a liberal duck season

Columbus – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made good on its promise not to restrict waterfowl seasons because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2010-2011 waterfowl hunting season dates have been approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council and are the most liberal regulations allowed by the USFWS, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife. "This…

Waterfowl seasons and bag limits

DUCKS: Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 25-Jan. 1. North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 11-Jan. 4. Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 6-Dec. 30. South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-16 and Nov. 17-Jan. 17. Total Duck Bag Limits: 6…

By land or by sea, waterfowlers urged to keep safety in mind

Harrisburg — Whether hunting from shore or from a boat, waterfowlers are urged to keep safety first and foremost in mind, said Keith Snyder, Pennsylvania Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief. "Basic firearm and hunting safety are critical," Snyder said. "Treat every firearm as if it is loaded and make sure that the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction….

Waterfowl hunters cautioned about eating mergansers

Harrisburg — To minimize potential health impacts, it's suggested that hunters don't eat merganser ducks, especially those harvested in the Lake Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania hunting zones. Studies conducted over the past two decades on Pennsylvania and New York mergansers, especially common and red-breasted mergansers in the Lake Erie region, have concluded they may have varying levels of contaminants, including…

State goose hunters anticipate September

Springfield – While some of the state's waterfowlers ponder a pending fourth Illinois duck hunting zone, others are preparing for a niche season that hasn't fully caught on. September Canada goose hunting runs Sept. 1-15. Harvest and participating numbers have remained somewhat steady in recent years, revealing that the special season has a loyal and eager following but is not…

Federal regulations for migratory waterfowl on PGC website

Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted a synopsis of federal regulations that govern migratory game bird and waterfowl seasons to assist hunters in finding answers to questions. To review the information, go to the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor on "Hunt/Trap" in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on "Hunting," scroll down…

More days, birds in bag for goose hunt?

Bemidji, Minn. – The DNR wants to give hunters more days to hunt Canada geese, and also allow them to kill one more bird each day. Now, the Mississippi Flyway Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must sign off. Dennis Simon, DNR Wildlife Section chief, believes that will happen in coming days. If it does, the regular goose…

USFWS says continental waterfowl numbers and habitat stable

Washington – Continental duck populations dropped slightly from last year, but are significantly above their long-term averages, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A 3-percent drop in overall duck numbers – 42 million last year, 40.9 million this year – isn't bad, said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. "Especially continentally, the status…

Little change to state’s breeding waterfowl population

Bemidji, Minn. — The number of breeding ducks in Minnesota this spring was down slightly from last year, according to a report the DNR released earlier this week. The estimated duck population this year was 531,000, compared with last year’s estimate of 541,000. The long-term average is 624,000, and this year’s estimate is the fourth-lowest since 1985. Steve Cordts, DNR…

Low spring waterfowl numbers reflect drought conditions

DNR Report Madison – State breeding duck numbers are lower than average this spring due to severe drought conditions across northern Wisconsin and fewer seasonal wetlands observed in southern Wisconsin, according to waterfowl biologists. "Year to year, local and regional variations in wetland habitat and breeding ducks is part of the natural cycle in the world of wetland wildlife," said…

National Duck and Goose Calling Championships coming to Moline

Moline, Ill. – The North American Duck and Goose Calling Championships will be held March 6-7 at Moline's Ramada Inn and Conference Center and will include three sanctioned regional qualifying events for the upcoming World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Ariz. The contests are the North American Regional, Illinois River Regional and Northern Illinois Regional. The March 6 schedule includes…