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July 27, 2010

MADISON - Waterfowl hunters can find the latest information on the status of waterfowl and waterfowl management decisions in Wisconsin and learn about the latest proposals for Wisconsin's 2010 waterfowl hunting seasons at a series of upcoming public meetings and hearings.

"We won't have a final waterfowl season proposal for the fall 2010 seasons until Monday, August 2," said Kent Van Horn, Wisconsin state waterfowl biologist who just returned from the Mississippi Flyway Council meetings in Mobile, Alabama. "However, we have a good picture of the likely upcoming season, and much of the news this year is very good since wetland conditions across most of North America were good in 2010."

State waterfowl hunting seasons are structured within the bounds of an annual framework decided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With the overall picture on the 2010 waterfowl breeding populations being good, hunters can expect average to liberal season frameworks in 2010 but there are likely going to be some important regulation changes this year, according to Van Horn.

Across the traditional survey area of the Dakotas, Canada and Alaska, total duck numbers were estimated at 41 million prior to breeding, which is 21 percent above the long term average. Wetland conditions in the Dakotas and important areas of Canada were good at the beginning of the breeding season and others have improved since then, so the 2010 duck production is expected to be good. Population estimates for most duck species were either similar to or higher than last year.

Spring conditions in Wisconsin were not as encouraging, primarily due to the impact of drought conditions in parts of the state. Wetland areas were down across the state. The 2010 total Wisconsin breeding duck population estimate of 386,501 was down 23 percent from 2009 and is 12 percent below the long-term mean. Since May, however, significant rainfall across the state has improved wetland conditions.

Canada goose breeding conditions in northern Ontario -- where about 50 percent of the Wisconsin harvest originates -- were much better in 2010 thanks to a warm spring and the breeding population estimate was near average. In Wisconsin, the Canada goose breeding population estimate was also up 12 percent at 165,853 geese. Hunters can expect an abundant Canada goose population this fall.

Season to be set by Natural Resources Board, August 11

The Natural Resources Board will set the 2010 season structure at its August 11 meeting in Hayward. At this time, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters can anticipate the following hunting season proposals for 2010:

"We expect to post the season proposals on our website by Aug. 2," said VanHorn.

In addition to the scheduled meetings and hearings, comments can be submitted to: James Christopoulos, 101 S. Webster St., PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 (608) 261-6458

More information is available on the Waterfowl in Wisconsin page of the DNR website.

2010 Post-Flyway Meetings

2010 Public Hearing Locations

Natural Resources Board Meeting

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent VanHorn, (608) 266-8841

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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