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 Southern and Mississippi River zones can head into the outdoors for another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 30,
"With good spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters have potential for a good hunting season," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist Taylor Finger.
The Southern Zone will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, close for a five-day split, then remain open from Oct. 14 to Dec. 3. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, close for a seven-day split, and reopen from Oct. 14 to Dec. 5. 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 five-day split in October, while hunting in the Horicon Zone will not be affected. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Sub-zone will not open until Sept. 30 and is closed during the seven-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.
"Continental breeding surveys that have been ongoing for 62 years reported record high or near record high numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with promising breeding indications, since parts of the state have experienced wet conditions leading up to the duck season and some areas of the state remain dry local conditions, scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall," said Finger.
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, 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 or online 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 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 waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waterfowl."
With the Exterior goose season opening in the Mississippi River Zone on Sept. 30, there have been some important changes concerning our transition to Go Wild. The Canada goose harvest registration phone number is now consistent with all other species registered in Wisconsin - this new system also provides for online registration. Hunters can now register online at gamereg.wi.gov or via phone at 844-426-3734 (844-GAME-REG).
In addition, Early, Exterior and Horicon Zone goose permits are now printed on regular white paper, rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their proof of license/permit but infield validation is no longer required - department staff encourage hunters to carry paper permits in a plastic bag to shield it from any adverse weather conditions.
For more information regarding Go Wild, visit gowild.wi.gov.