The Migratory Bird Regulation Process
All migratory birds (birds which migrate from wintering areas to summer areas) are governed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunting regulations (seasons, bag limits, etc.) for migratory game birds are established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via the SRC (Service Regulation Committee) with the final rule made by the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The SRC conducts three meetings each year with representatives from each of the four Flyway Councils in the U.S. to discuss migratory game bird management regulatory issues. The first meeting is in January to review the status of migratory bird populations and outline anticipated actions for the coming hunting season. The second meeting is held in late June to develop regulations for early seasons (e.g. dove, woodcock, rails, etc.) and discuss proposed regulatory alternatives for duck seasons. The third meeting is held in early August to develop regulations for late seasons (regular duck and goose seasons).
The three scheduled meetings are held to hear the concerns and recommendations of the four flyways and staff recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Management Office.
The four flyways are the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific. A Flyway Council is made up of one representative from each state and province in the flyway. Flyway Councils meet twice each year (March and July) to provide recommendations for migratory bird management in the Flyway. Flyway Councils have the expertise of flyway technical committees to provide biological foundation for their recommendations. Maryland biologists are part of the Atlantic Flyway Council's Technical Section and thus bring the concerns relating to Maryland conditions and Maryland hunters to the Flyway deliberations.
Two consultants are elected by each Flyway Council to represent them at the SRC meetings. The role of the consultants is to present the Flyway recommendations and to work with other flyways to resolve common issues of national and international importance.
Public attendance is permitted at the SRC meetings, but participation is limited to listening. The public does have the opportunity to comment on all proposed regulations, which are published in the Federal Register, by submitting written comments to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All regulations are first published as proposed regulations for comment, usually 30 days prior to final rule.
Specific concerns by Maryland sportsmen and other waterfowl enthusiasts are brought forward by Maryland biologists during the Technical Section Committee meetings as well as by the Maryland representative at Flyway Council meetings. However, majority rule of the Council determines the Flyway's position.
Maryland citizens can voice their opinion on migratory bird issues at any time. Two formal opportunities are provided by the Department of Natural Resources for comment on seasons and bag limits. The first opportunity is at the March hearings (held every other year) when resident game species and early migratory seasons are discussed. The second opportunity is in late August when special waterfowl regulation hearings are conducted.
The Atlantic Flyway Council
The Atlantic Flyway, which Maryland belongs to, includes one representative from each of the following states:
Also members of the Atlantic Flyway Council are:
Prince Edward Island
- 2014-2015 Maryland Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons
- 2014 September Teal Season
- 2014 Early Resident Canada Goose Seasons & Bag Limits
- Webless Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Bag Limits
- Canada Goose Hunting Zones Map
- Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days
- Sunrise/Sunset Table
- Montgomery County Legal Firearm Discharge Area
- Central Region Public Hunting Permit
- Duck Boat Safety Tips for Maryland Waterfowlers
- Keys to Aid Hunters in Identification of Live Decoys
- How to Properly Clean Ducks
(Leaves DNR Website)
- Prevent Hypothermia in your Hunting Dog
- The Migratory Bird Regulation Process
- Federal Regulations - Hunting of Migratory Game Birds
- Hunters' Views about Waterfowl Hunting in Maryland
- Federal Waterfowl Regulations
(refer to Title 50, Part 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations)
- Code of Maryland Regulations for the Possession and Trade of Captive Mute Swans
- Resident Canada Geese Depredation Assistance
- Solving Problems Caused by Resident Canada Geese
- Report Banded Birds & Band Recovery Reports
- Waterfowl Identification
- Sunrise/Sunset Table
- Waterfowl-related Permits
- Waterfowl Disease
- Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee
- Atlantic Flyway Council Management Plans
- Mute Swan Management & Research
- Waterfowl Research Projects
- Maryland Wood Duck Initiative
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Status Reports
- History of Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Data Center
- Historic Duck Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits 1918-2007
- Historic Canada Goose Seasons 1945-2006
- Code of Maryland Regulations
- Directory of Waterfowl Sites