MADISON – As a result of great scientific information and input from the
public, migratory game bird hunters in Wisconsin pursuing ducks, geese,
doves, woodcock and other migratory game birds will see some notable changes
in 2018.

The final season. framework was approved by the state Natural Resources Board at its April 11, 2018 meeting in Madison.

Here’s Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, to show you the
final season migratory game bird season structure and explain some notable
changes for the 2018 seasons:

“These season frameworks were based on input we received from the public,
input from conservation and hunting groups, and results from a waterfowl
hunter survey,” said Taylor Finger, Department of Natural Resources
migratory bird ecologist. “We expanded our outreach efforts in 2018 using
social media to increase our engagement with our users, and we saw
attendance at statewide public hearings double the and a nearly 400 percent
increase in total comments received regarding the 2018 waterfowl season
proposals.”

Finger notes that the waterfowl season structure process is a perfect
example of the important role the public can play in decision making, and
thanks all those who submitted a comment or attended a
meeting.

The first of the 2018 migratory game bird
seasons will open with the early Canada goose, mourning dove and early teal seasons
starting on Sept. 1. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons will include a 60-day
duck season which will start with a statewide opener on Sept. 29th and
92-day regular goose season which will have two splits to allow hunting
during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:

* North duck zone will open one week later than in previous years,
resulting in a single statewide opener for the North, South and Mississippi
zones on Sept. 29;
* elimination of the Horicon Canada goose Management Zone (resulting in
a single statewide regular goose zone);
* increase in the daily Canada goose bag limit to three birds per day;
* a second split in the South Canada goose zone resulting in a goose
season that is open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays; and
* increase in the pintail daily bag limit (from one to two) based on US
Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.

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.

Early season dates are as follows:

* Early Teal – Sept. 1-7 (6 birds per day, Sunrise – Sunset Shooting
Hours);
* Early Goose – Sept. 1-15 (5 birds per day);
* Mourning Dove – Sept. 1 to Nov. 29 (15 birds per day); and
* Woodcock – Sept. 22 to Nov. 5 (3 birds per day).

Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows:

Opening day shooting hours would begin one-half hour before sunrise for all
regular waterfowl hunting seasons.

* Youth Hunt – Sept. 15-16;
* North Zone – Sept. 29 to Nov. 27;
* South Zone – Sept. 29 to Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 (five-day
split); and
* Mississippi Zone – Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 4 (seven-day
split, closed Oct. 6-12).

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

* four mallards, of which only one may be a hen;
* one black duck;
* two canvasbacks;
* three wood ducks;
* two pintails;
* three scaup; and
* two redheads.

Five mergansers can be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be
hooded.

Regular goose season dates

With the elimination of the Horicon Canada goose management zone, the state
is now a single statewide Exterior goose hunting zone for the regular
season. The Mississippi River is a sub-zone within the Exterior Zone. For
Canada goose hunters that have already purchased a Horicon Canada goose
permit, your permit will still function as your regular Canada goose season
authorization and does not require that you re-purchase an Exterior Zone
goose permit.

Another change was made to the daily bag limits which increased from two
geese per day to three geese per day during the regular Canada goose hunting
season. Lastly, the Natural Resources Board approved the incorporation of a
second split in the Southern Zone regular Canada Goose season which would
close the season down with the South Zone duck season and reopen again on
Dec. 16th and run through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Exterior Zone (92 days total):

* North – Sept. 16 to Dec. 16;
* South – Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 (5-day Split) and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 (13-day
split) and Dec. 16 – Jan. 3, 2019; and
* Mississippi – Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 and Oct. 13 to Jan. 3.

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit
dnr.wi.gov and search keyword
“waterfowl”