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Maryland Finalizes Late Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
Annapolis, MD — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources finalized the 2008-2009 late waterfowl hunting seasons today. The seasons will feature a 60-day duck season, a 45-day migratory Canada goose season and a change to allow a three-bird bag limit for wood ducks.
“The majority of waterfowl hunters who provided us input supported opening the duck season one week later than we had proposed. Hunters also supported an increase in the wood duck daily bag limit,” said Paul Peditto, Director of DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “As always, when science allows, we let public input guide these decisions. Recent increases in wood duck populations across the eastern United States provide an opportunity for hunters to take up to three wood ducks per day this year.”
Waterfowl hunters may take up to six ducks per day during the duck season’s three segments: October 18 to October 25, November 8 to November 28, and then from December 16 to January 24.
The migratory, or Atlantic Population (AP) Canada goose season will run for 45 days with a daily bag limit of two geese. The season will be split into two parts: November 15 to November 28 and December 18 to January 24. Hunters should note that all or part of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard Counties have been shifted from the Late Resident Canada Goose Hunt Zone to the Atlantic Population Canada Goose Hunt Zone.
AP Canada goose breeding pairs stood at 170,000 this spring, compared to 195,700 in 2007. Although the number of breeding pairs was down about 15%, an early spring snow melt on the Ungava Peninsula led to a strong nesting effort. Banding crews on the Ungava Peninsula encountered large numbers of goslings in banding drives indicating that gosling production was good.
The scaup daily bag limit will be one bird for the first 40 days of the regular duck season, and two scaup per day the last 20 days of the season.
Larry Hindman, Waterfowl Project Leader, offered an explanation for the necessity of reducing scaup and canvasback opportunities, “Lesser scaup have undergone a gradual decline the past two decades. Although the decline appears to be related to a variety of environmental factors and not hunter harvest, hunting pressure on scaup is being reduced nationwide this year to ensure a harvest the scaup population can support.”
The canvasback breeding population (489,000) declined 44% this spring from the 2007 record high, largely due to drought conditions in Prairie Canada. Declines in canvasbacks counted during the May surveys were widespread, occurring in the same areas that experienced increases last year. Canvasback numbers were below the level that would permit a nationwide harvest.
“There will be no open season for canvasbacks this year,” Hindman added. “While diver duck hunters may be disappointed, offering no canvasback season is the responsible thing to do in order to protect this species.”
Junior hunters (aged 15 years and younger) are encouraged to participate in National Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day on November 1, 2008. Participants accompanied by an unarmed adult age 21 or older may take ducks, coots, mergansers, sea ducks, snow geese, brant, and Canada geese that day.
The 2008-2009 late waterfowl season dates and bag limits will be published in the annual migratory game bird season synopsis and available at DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service offices and sport license agents by late September.
All waterfowl hunters, including landowners who are license exempt, must obtain the HIP (Harvest Information Program) permit and the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp in addition to a general hunting license. Hunters must possess the printed receipt showing proof of purchase of the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp while hunting migratory game birds. Waterfowl hunters are not required to sign and attach the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp to their hunting license. Hunters may purchase licenses and stamps online at www.dnr.maryland.gov.
All waterfowl hunters age 16 and over must also possess the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp). Hunters are still required to sign the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) and have it in their possession while hunting waterfowl. Hunters may obtain Federal Duck Stamps at U.S. Post Offices, National Wildlife Refuges, and some DNR sport license agents. Hunters may purchase the Federal Duck Stamp online at www.duckstamp.com.
Non-toxic shot is required for hunting waterfowl and coots. Hunters may not possess or use non-toxic shot shells containing shot larger than size No. T, or any lead shot shells while waterfowl hunting. Approved types of nontoxic shot and other information on migratory game bird hunting are listed in the 2008-2009 Guide to Hunting and Trapping in Maryland or on DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/index.asp.
Hunters are encouraged to report banded migratory game birds by calling toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263). Banded birds can also be reported online at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/homepage/call800.htm.
For more information about the 2008-2009 Maryland Late Waterfowl Seasons and Bag Limits, visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/lwfchart.asp.
August 28, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.