Encouraged by signs this could be a bountiful year for duck production and trying to avoid the politics of last summer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to change the way it sets the duck seasons.
All states must set their waterfowl seasons and bag limits within frameworks put together by the service.
Last year, when it became obvious there was ample water and good duck reproduction on the prairies after more than a decade of mostly drought, an uproar of last-minute political infighting arose over attempts to liberalize the frameworks to extend seasons and raise bag limits.
“This year we’re trying to limit the number of options,” says FWS biologist Fred Johnson in Washington.
The new idea is to hammer out three frameworks - conservative, moderate and liberal - as early as possible. The liberal option would be similar to regulations issued for the 1979 through 1984 seasons.