Duck season opens Saturday

Posted at 1 p.m. on September 23, 2019

The Brillion News

MADISON – Duck hunters in the North, South and Mississippi River zones in Wisconsin 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 state 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. 28to 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:

  1. four mallards, of which only one may be a hen;

  2. two black ducks;

  3. two canvasbacks;

  4. three wood ducks;

  5. one pintail;

  6. three scaup; and

  7. two redheads.

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.

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