Wisconsins’ Northern Zone Duck Season Opens Sept. 26

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Wisconsins' Northern Zone Duck Season Opens Sept. 26MADISON – Wisconsin duck hunters will again enjoy the maximum 60-day season in 2009 and are reminded that the Northern and Southern duck hunting zones have different opening and closing dates and a split in the Southern Zone as follows.

Other than on opening days, the hunt begins a half hour before sunrise.

Northern Zone: Opens at 9 a.m. Sept. 26 through Nov. 24.

Southern Zone: A split season opens at 9 a.m. Oct. 3 through Oct. 11 and reopens at 9 a.m. Oct. 17 through Dec. 6.

“Wisconsin waterfowlers should have a good hunting season,” said Kent Van Horn, migratory game bird ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources. “Overall, continental populations of waterfowl game species are healthy and abundant.”

Bag limits
The daily bag limit is six ducks in total, not to include more than four mallards of which only one may be a hen, three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, two scaup, one canvasback, and one pintail. Two important federal regulation changes from 2008 are that the canvasback season is open for 60 days and the scaup season will allow a 2-bird daily bag for the entire 60 days. These changes are in response to good breeding conditions and increased duck populations recorded during the 2009 continental waterfowl surveys.

The daily bag limit for mergansers is five to include no more than two hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coot is 15.

“Breeding and brood rearing habitat in Wisconsin was about average this spring, but lately conditions have become drier,” said Van Horn. “As always, hunters who do the early legwork – scouting for good wetland conditions, current duck use, and securing landowner permissions, will be the ones having a good hunt.”

Many of the ducks harvested in Wisconsin come from birds that breed in the state’s wetlands.

“The four most abundant ducks in Wisconsin’s fall hunting harvest are mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal and blue-winged teal,” Van Horn said.

Licenses and stamps
Licenses and stamps required include a Wisconsin small game license, a Wisconsin waterfowl stamp and a federal migratory bird stamp. The $15 federal stamp can be purchased at a post office or hunters have the option of purchasing the federal stamp at license vendors for a $2.50 surcharge. The purchase will be noted on their license and the stamp itself will arrive weeks later in the mail. State licenses, permits, and stamps are also available through the Wisconsin Online Licensing Center.

Harvest Information Program
Waterfowl hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP), which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing asking them to provide a summary of their waterfowl harvest. They are also reminded of the new law which allows “mentored” hunting opportunities for 10-11 year olds or anyone who has not yet taken Hunter Education.

Bag checks will be performed at select hunting locations in the state again this fall. Avian influenza testing will also occur at these sites.

Additional information is available on the Waterfowl in Wisconsin pages of the DNR Web site and in the 2009 Wisconsin Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast.