Hunting, Waterfowl

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Waterfowl hunting is a general term used to describe the annual hunt of water fowl. Many species are included in this term including species which are protected by state law and cannot be hunted for sport[1]. However, there are several species that are able to be hunted in the state of Wisconsin. Some of the species that are able to be hunted include Mallards, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Gadwalls, Blue-winged teal, Green-winged teal, American Widgeon, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Canadian Goose, Brant, and Snow Goose. Throughout the state different birds are going to be more common in different areas. In Northeastern Wisconsin some of the more common types of waterfowl are Mallards, Wood Duck, both types of teal, Hooded Mergansers, and Canadian Geese [2]. While it may be uncommon to see the other types of birds in this part of Wisconsin, they do come around, just not as often.

Basic Information

Waterfowl hunting season occurs in the fall of each year and continues into the early months of winter. Every year in recent history the populations for waterfowl has risen. One study was done on the population of ducks in Wisconsin by the Department of Natural Resources. This study found that there are approximately 480,000 ducks in the migratory path of Wisconsin. This number is up by nearly 26% from the prior year (390,500)[3]. This increase in population is a great thing to see, but also is a call to hunters to harvest more birds to make sure they do not become over-populated.

Hunting Requirements

A few things are required in order to be able to go hunting for waterfowl in Wisconsin. One of the main items that hunters must have is a shotgun with steel shot. Steel shot is very important while hunting waterfowl since the traditional load of lead could lead to the poisoning of water causing it to be toxic to the wildlife. Another requirement for hunting in Wisconsin is having a hunter safety certification. This certificate is a basic course that just teaches proper safety while handling firearms and to make sure that the hunters are following the ethical standards of a true outdoorsman[4]. This includes but is not limited to, making sure you are aware of the background of your target, making ethical and efficient kill shots, and implementing safe and lawful hunting tactics. Several things are required to be able to hunt waterfowl in the state of Wisconsin and while most of the requirements are the same for residents and non-residents there are some differences between what they need to have regarding licensing.

Licensing

All hunters, resident and nonresident, must get the following license if they wish to be able to go waterfowl hunting in the state of Wisconsin. First, everyone who wishes to go waterfowl hunting must get a small game license, state duck stamp, federal duck stamp, and HIP certification. An additional license is required to go hunting for Canadian Geese. All of the proceeds from the licensing goes toward paying to help the conservation of waterfowl[5].

Wisconsin Residents

Residents of the state of Wisconsin get to enjoy the vast amount of natural resources available and wildlife hunting at a discounted rate. For the average Wisconsin hunter the cost in order to go waterfowl hunting is $53. The costs broken down for an average aged Wisconsin resident are as follow (senior citizens and minors receive discounted prices): Small Games license $18, Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp $7, Federal Migratory Bird Stamp $25, Canada Goose Permit $3, and HIP survey is free[6].

Non-Wisconsin Residents

Residents from other states and even other countries are welcome to come and enjoy the fine hunting opportunities in Wisconsin at just a slightly higher price than the average resident. The total cost for waterfowl hunting for a Non-resident is $120 for the entire season. The only difference for this is the cost of small game license which goes from $18 to $85. Otherwise, all of the stamps and permits cost the same as a Wisconsin resident[7].

Season

The hunting season occurs during fall of every year and is broken up into three different areas in Wisconsin. The three areas are as follows Mississippi River, Northern, and Southern zones. The hunting seasons vary slightly depending on the area. In all these regions shooting hours start half an hour before sunrise and end half hour before sunset.

Northern Zone

The season for this area is open from September 23 and lasts until November 21.[8]

Southern Zone

This seasons opening date is September 30 and goes until December 3, but there is a span of 5 days in October which the season is closed (October 9-13).[9]

Mississippi River Zone

This seasons opening date is September 30 and goes until December 5, but there is a span of 7 days in October which the season is closed (October 7-13) [10].

Early Teal and Early Goose

Early Teal and Early Goose both start on September 1, but Early teal ends on September 7 and Early Goose ends on September 15. The bag limits for these seasons are increased due to the large populations of these birds that are migrating through at this time. The bag limit for teal during this time is 6 and can be any combination of blue and green winged teal. The bag limit for Canada Goose during this time is 5 this early goose hunting requires an additional permit[11].

Bag Limit

Bag limit refers to the maximum amount of birds that can be harvested each day. For duck, the maximum amount that can be harvested is 6 and can be any combination of the following. Four Mallards (only one can be a hen), 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 3 scaups, 2 canvasbacks, 1 pintail, and 1 blackduck. During regular season only 2 geese can be harvested per day[12].

References

  1. "Migratory Bird treaty of 1918" Fish and Wildlife services, 1918, Accessed April 24, 2018, https://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/migtrea.html
  2. "Waterfowl ID" Ducks Unlimited, 2018, Accessed April 24, 2018, http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfowl-id/
  3. "Waterfowl Breeding Population" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 10-15, Accessed April 24, 2018 https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/documents/waterfowlsurv.pdf
  4. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  5. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  6. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  7. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  8. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  9. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  10. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  11. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf
  12. "2017-18 Hunting Regulations" Wisconsin DNR, 2017, p. 1-20, Accessed April 24, 2018https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/WM0010.pdf

Article History

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