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Natural Resources Board sets migratory bird season framework

April 17, 2020 by Beckie Gaskill

Last week the Natural Resources Board (NRB) approved the migratory bird season framework for 2020. There were some notable changes to that framework this year. This year, the northern duck season will open one week earlier than it did last year, creating two state wide openers. 

The north will open on Sept. 26. The south and Mississippi zones will open on Oct. 3. The regular duck season will run for 60 days. The youth duck hunt will be Sept. 19-20 this year.

Shooting hours for all migratory bird seasons, other than early teal, will be from one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Early teal will open at sunrise and run until sunset. Early teal season opens Sept. 1 and closes Sept. 9. The bag limit will be six birds per day. 

The 92-day goose season contains a second split in the south Canada goose zone, which results in a season that is open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The northern zone hunt will be Sept. 16 to Dec. 16. The Mississippi zone hunt contains two open periods, from Oct. 3 to Oct. 11 and Oct. 17 to Jan. 5. The South zone’s first open season is Sept. 16 to Oct. 11. The second split season is Oct. 17 to Dec. 6 and the third is Dec. 22 to Jan. 5, 2021.

There will also be an increase in the hen mallard daily bag limit from one to two. This change is based on the US Fish and Wildlife Service season framework. Bag limits will be a statewide bag limit of six ducks, including no more than: four Mallard (only two of which may be a hen), two black duck, two canvasback, three wood duck, one pintail, two redhead and five merganser.

There will also be a decrease in the scaup bad limit, according to a recent press release from the DNR. This will include a bag limit of one scaup for 15 days and two scaup for 45 days. This is also based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife season framework.

Early goose season opens Sept. 1 and closes Sept. 15, with a five bird per day limit. Mourning dove season also opens Sept. 1 and runs until Nov. 29. The limit is 15 birds per day. Woodcock season opens Sept. 19 and runs through Nov. 2 with a three bird per day limit. 

A new zone structure was also approved for 2021 to 2025. The NRB approved a three-zone/one-split structure. That structure includes the North zone, South zone and Open Water zone. The previous Mississippi River zone moves to the South zone. The new Open Water zone will 500 feet from shore on the coasts of Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at [email protected]

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