Contact(s): Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841; Trenton Rohrer, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458
MADISON - Duck hunters in the North, South and Mississippi River zones will begin another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept 29.
"With average spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters could have potential for a good hunting season," said Taylor Finger, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist.
The Northern zone will begin Sept 29 and run through Nov. 27. The Southern Zone will run from Sept 29 to Oct. 7, close for a 5-day split, then remain open from Oct. 13 to Dec. 2. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept 29 to Oct. 5, close for a 7-day split, and reopen from Oct. 13 to Dec. 4. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise.
Waterfowl hunters should note that the goose season in the southern portion of the Exterior Zone will also be closed during the 5-day split in October. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Sub-zone will not open until Sept 29 and is closed during the 7-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.
"Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 63 years showed in 2018 a drop in most species populations however, most populations remained above their long-term averages. Even with promising breeding indications, local conditions and scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall. Because parts of the state have experienced wet conditions leading up to the duck season and some areas of the state remain dry, scouting this fall will be particularly important to identify the areas that are holding birds."
The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:
Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers; 15 coot may be harvested daily.
Licenses and stamps required for duck hunting include a Wisconsin small game license (included in the Conservation Patron and Sports packaged licenses), a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp, and a federal migratory bird stamp. The federal duck stamp costs $25. The federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters will also have the option of purchasing the federal stamp privilege at DNR license vendors for an additional $2.50 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license, but the stamp itself will arrive several weeks later in the mail.
Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program, which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their harvest. HIP registration is free and can be done at the time hunters purchase their licenses, but can always be added later on if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds.
State licenses and stamps, permits, and HIP registration are also available through Go Wild. For more information regarding Go Wild, visit GoWild.WI.gov. For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waterfowl."
With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and average production of the Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities this year, and will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior zone with a 3-bird daily bag limit.
As a reminder, the Horicon Canada goose Zone was eliminated in 2018 and is now a part of the Southern Exterior goose zone.
Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:
While afield, hunters must carry proof of their Canada goose harvest permit. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, Go Wild generated PDF displayed on a mobile device, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license or Go Wild Conservation Card. As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.