Sunday, August 05, 2007

Duck Hunting Opener coming early?

This article was in the Sunday Grand Forks Herald. It would appear that North Dakota Duck hunting season is going to be a little earlier that last season. Now I am going to have to adjust my work schedule to get out and hunt before all the out of state hunters get here. Last season there was little if any water due to the drough like conditions and that put a lot of pressure on the local ducks. As the pressure grew to hunt what little water there was in the state, the extra hunting pressure basically pushed the local ducks out of the state after the second week of the season.

N.D. resident opener

According to Mike Johnson, migratory game bird supervisor for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the agency is proposing that this year's duck season open Sept. 22 for residents and Sept. 29 or nonresidents.

North Dakota was one of five Central Flyway states to implement Hunter's Choice last year as part of a three-year experiment aimed at reducing the harvest of less-abundant duck species such as pintails and canvasbacks.

Hunter's Choice gives hunters the choice of one mallard hen, one pintail or one canvasback in their five-bird bag. As with last year, there's a two-bird limit on scaup and wood ducks in the Hunter's Choice bag, while hunters can shoot five birds among more abundant species such as teal, wigeon and mallards - as long as only one of those mallards is a hen.

In addition to the 74-day duck season, Game and Fish again is proposing a 23-day late goose season in the western High Plains unit.

Game and Fish will publish its final waterfowl proclamation later this month, Johnson said.

Six and 60

In the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Minnesota, the liberal package gives states the option of a 60-day season beginning as early as Sept. 22 and ending as late as Jan. 27. The proposed daily bag is six, and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three mottled ducks, two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, one pintail and two canvasbacks, the service said.

Record populations prompted the service to offer the two-canvasback limit in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Pacific flyways. The canvasback limit stayed at one in the Central Flyway because of the ongoing “Hunters' Choice” experiment.

According to Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, managers in Minnesota will meet with DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten on Monday to finalize this fall's duck season regulations.

Minnesota last year offered a four-duck limit, but Cordts on Thursday said he couldn't confirm whether the bag would be four birds or six, which is allowed under the federal frameworks.

The DNR is mandated by the Legislature to open duck season on the Saturday closest to Oct. 1, which this year is Sept. 29, Cordts said. A 60-day season similar to last year also is likely.
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