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Contact(s): Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841 or Jeff Williams, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458
September 17, 2019

Regular duck and Canada goose seasons open Sept. 28 - Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regular duck and Canada goose seasons open Sept. 28Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

MADISON, Wis. - Duck hunters in the North, South and Mississippi River zones will begin another fall duck hunt one-half hour before sunrise on Saturday, Sept. 28.

"With average spring breeding counts and a fairly wet summer, Wisconsin waterfowl hunters have the potential for a good hunting season," said Taylor Finger, migratory game bird ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Northern Zone hunt will begin Sept. 28 and run through Nov. 26. The Southern Zone hunt will run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6, close for a five-day split, then remain open from Oct. 12 to Dec. 1. The Mississippi Zone will be open Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, close for a seven-day split, and reopen from Oct. 12 to Dec. 3. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise.

The goose season in the southern portion of the Exterior Zone will also be closed during the five-day split in October. Also, hunters should note that goose season in the Mississippi River Subzone will not open until Sept. 28 and will be closed during the seven-day split in the Mississippi River Zone.

The 2019 continental breeding surveys showed a drop in populations of most species, though 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 coots 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 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 $3 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. Hunters can register for HIP when they purchase their licenses or added later if a hunter decides they may pursue migratory game birds.

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 three-bird daily bag limit.

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.

State licenses and stamps, permits and HIP registration are also available through Go Wild. For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "waterfowl."

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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