Posted on

Board approves 2020 migratory bird hunting season framework, regulations

Highlights include changes to duck opening dates, hen mallard limits

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board voted unanimously April 1 for the Department of Natural Resources to move forward with proposed rules for the 2020 migratory bird season framework and regulations. Thanks to input from hunters and new scientific research, Wisconsin will see some notable changes.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:

_ North duck zone will open one week earlier than last season, resulting in two statewide openers, one for the North on Sept. 26 and one for the South and Mississippi zones on Oct. 3. The regular duck season will run for 60 days.

_ A 92-day regular goose season with 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.

_ An increase in the hen mallard daily bag limit (from one to two) based on US Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.

_ A decrease in the scaup bag limit to one scaup for 15 days and two scaup for 45 days based on U.S. Fish

and Wildlife Service season framework.

_ Shooting hours for all migratory bird seasons are open from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with the exception of the early teal season. Shooting hours for early teal open at sunrise and close at sunset.

“These season frameworks were based on the most current scientific data and input we received from the public, input from conservation and hunting groups and results from a waterfowl hunter survey,” said Taylor Finger, DNR migratory bird ecologist. “We expanded our outreach efforts in 2020 using social media to increase our engagement with our users, and we saw great attendance at statewide public hearings. In total, we received more than 2,100 comments regarding the 2020 waterfowl season proposals.”

Additionally, the board set a new zone structure to go into effect for the 2021-2025 seasons. The board approved a three-zone/one-split structure that includes the North Zone, South Zone and an Open Water Zone. The Open Water Zone falls 500 feet from shore on the coasts of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. This decision moves the previously held Mississippi River Zone into the South Zone beginning fall of 2021.

Early dates

Early season dates are as follows:

_ Early teal, Sept. 1-9, six birds per day.

_ Early goose, Sept. 1-15, five birds per day.

_ Mourning dove, Sept. 1-Nov. 29, 15 per day.

_ Woodcock, Sept. 19-Nov. 2, three birds per day.

Duck dates

Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise for all regular waterfowl hunting seasons.

_ Youth hunt, Sept. 19-20.

_ North Zone, Sept. 26-Nov. 24.

_ South Zone, Oct. 3-11, Oct. 17-Dec. 6.

_ Mississippi Zone, Oct. 3-11, Oct. 17-Dec. 6.

Duck bag limits

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

_ Mallard, four, of which only two may be hens.

_ Black duck, two

_ Canvasback, two

_ Wood duck, three

_ Pintail, one

_ Redhead, two

_ Merganser, five

Scaup bag limit

There is a 60-day restrictive scaup bag limit (federal restriction; 15 days at one scaup/day and 45 days at two scaup/day):

_ North Zone, Sept. 26 - Oct. 10, one per day; Oct. 11-Nov. 24, two per day.

_ South Zone, Oct. 3-11 one per day; Oct. 17-22, one per day; Oct. 23-Dec. 6, two per day.

_ Mississippi River Zone, Oct. 3-11, one per day; Oct. 17-22, one per day; Oct. 23-Dec. 6, two per day.

Regular goose dates

Regular goose season dates are as follows for the Exterior Zone (92 days total):

_ North Zone, Sept. 16-Dec. 16

_ South Zone, Sept. 16-Oct. 11, Oct. 17-Dec. 6, Dec. 22-Jan. 5, 2021.

_ Mississippi Zone, Oct. 3-11, Oct. 17-Jan. 5, 2021.