September 21, 2010
MADISON - The first Saturday in October marks the opening of the southern duck zone season. This season will open at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 and run through Oct. 10, and then closes for a 5-day split, reopening on Saturday Oct. 16 and running through Dec. 5.
Waterfowl hunters should note that the goose season in the south Exterior zone will also be closed during this 5 day period from Oct. 11-15. This season closure, however, does not affect goose hunting in the Horicon or Collins zones which are also within the southern duck zone.
"Each year, we hear a wide range of desires among waterfowl hunters regarding the timing of duck and Canada goose seasons. This year was no exception, with some asking for an earlier season and others asking for a later season," notes Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist. "The 2010 season structure represents a compromise among hunter interests."
Abundant water in much of the south part of the state during the summer has made for good waterfowl habitat, according to biologists.
"Even so," adds Van Horn, "local fall water conditions, fall weather and time spent scouting are the most important factors to hunting success in the waterfowl season. Studies have shown that hunters who scout harvest 2.3 times more ducks than those who do not. Wisconsin has a wide range of different habitats and locations to hunt waterfowl that are not always used very heavily, so take the time to seek out new areas this fall for your best chance of success."
The daily bag limit for the full 60 days is six ducks, not to include more than four mallards of which only one may be a hen, three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, two scaup, two pintail, and one canvasback. In addition, the bag limit includes five mergansers to include not more than two hooded mergansers. Coot daily bag is 15.
Duck and other migratory game bird hunters are reminded to make sure they register for the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) if they did not do so when purchasing a license. It takes only a minute and is free of charge at any license vendor, by phone, 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236), or online through the Online Licensing Center. Bag checks will again be performed at select hunting locations in the state this fall, and avian influenza testing will also occur at these sites.
For more information see the Waterfowl in Wisconsin page of the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn - (608) 266-8841 or James Christopoulos - (608) 261-6458