Seasons are going to be longer and game bags heavier for most waterfowlers this year.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the longer seasons and larger daily bag limits last week because of an increase in the numbers of ducks and geese. The drought ended in the prairie pothole country, the continent’s duck breeding ground.
Public comment will be accepted through Sept. 4.
The fall flight forecast, a measure of birds in the prairie states of the United States and prairie provinces of Canada, is 80 million this year, up from 71 million a year ago.
“Waterfowl populations have responded to excellent weather conditions and a decade of habitat conservation efforts throughout many of the important breeding areas,” said FWS deputy director John Rogers.
“As a result, we are now in a position to allow considerably more hunting opportunities to America’s waterfowlers.”
Here is this season’s proposed framework for the Pacific flyway, which includes Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. States may set their seasons within the frameworks.
Ducks - A 93-day season between Oct. 1 and Jan. 20. That’s an increase from 69 days last year. Washington has the option of offering up to 100 days of hunting in the Columbia Basin. Bag limit, six, including no more than one mallard hen, two pintails, one canvasback and two redheads. The bag limit was four last year.
Geese - A 100-day season in most parts of the flyway from the Saturday nearest Oct. 1 to the Sunday nearest Jan. 20. Bag limit of three light geese and three dark geese.