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September 8, 2015

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to correct information on the opening of the goose season. The season opens Wednesday, Sept. 16.

MADISON -Regular season Canada goose hunting in the Exterior and Horicon zones opens Wednesday Sept. 16, followed by a two-day Youth Waterfowl Hunt Sept 19-20.

Youth waterfowl hunt

This year's youth waterfowl hunt will be held Sept. 19-20. This special hunt offers youth age 12-15 (or those 10 or over hunting under the mentored hunting law) the opportunity to learn skills from an adult without the increased hunting pressure encountered during the regular season.

"While many youth hunters enjoy this special hunt alongside a parent or relative, each year about one out of very seven youth are able to participate solely because a family friend, neighbor or volunteer mentor was generous enough to take the time to teach them the tradition of waterfowl hunting," said Van Horn."

Normal season bag limits apply, but all license and stamp requirements are waived for the youth hunt. However, participants still need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and possess a regular season goose permit for the zone in which they are hunting if they wish to hunt geese during this time. Licensed adults may also hunt geese since the Exterior and Horicon Zone goose seasons are open during these dates.

Individuals of all ages and skill levels are reminded to check out a Learn to Hunt waterfowl clinic in their area to learn more about hunting and its role within conservation.

Regular goose season

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 two bird daily bag limit.

"When combined with the 15 days of the early season, this puts WI at 107 days of Canada goose hunting, and the maximum season length allowed by federal law," said Kent Van Horn, migratory game bird ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources .

Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

Hunters should note that the goose season is closed during the duck season split in both the South Zone (closed Oct. 12-16) and Mississippi River Subzone (closed Oct. 10-16).

The Horicon Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

The daily bag limit for Canada geese in the Horicon Zone remains at two. In 2014, the season harvest limit in this zone was increased to 12 total Canada geese. It is important to remember that locations west of Hwy 73 and north of Hwy 23 are no longer part of the Horicon Zone, but rather part of the Exterior Zone.

Goose reporting requirements were changed in 2014 for the Horicon Zone, permits require the hunter who harvested the goose to punch/slit the permit for the date of kill (the total may not exceed the season limit). In addition to the early goose season and Exterior Zone, Horicon Zone hunters are also required to report each goose harvested within the Horicon Zone within 48 hours of kill by calling 1-800-99-GOOSE (1-800-994-6673).

New for 2015, the cost of the federal duck stamp will now cost $25 (an increase from $15 dollars). This increase in cost was suggested and supported by waterfowl hunters nationwide. There has not been an increase in the federal waterfowl stamp since the 1990s - the $10 increase will help protect additional upland and wetland waterfowl habitat.For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords "waterfowl management." Several federal agencies are working in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to collect samples related to the research and surveillance of avian influenza in wild birds. This surveillance will help monitor for the virus during fall migration. Wild birds from targeted areas throughout the state will be sampled between now and spring 2016.

Avian influenza is a viral disease common in wild bird populations with many different subtypes - most do not cause obvious signs of disease in wild birds or have the ability to infect animals other than birds. While strains currently detected in the U.S. have caused mortality of domestic birds, they have not resulted in any illness in humans.

Samples will be collected from live-captured birds during DNR banding efforts and from hunter-harvested dabbling ducks, such as blue-winged teal, mallard, wood duck and Northern pintail. Federal staff will also be located at boat landings and other hunter access points this fall to sample ducks from willing hunters.

To learn more, search keywords "bird diseases."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 08, 2015

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