Duck hunting season should be similar to last year


Mar 11, 2001
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Duck hunting season should be similar to last year.

By Tim Renken, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Outdoors Writer

A duck hunting season that could be similar to last year and a goose hunting season curtailed by a smaller Canada goose flock is in prospect for Illinois waterfowlers.

Duck hunting regulations similar to recent years are likely in Illinois this fall with a 60-day hunt and a six-duck daily bag, with restrictions. Goose regulations probably will be more restrictive after a 46 percent decline in the Mississippi Valley population of Canada geese.

The regulations set by state authorities and approved by the Mississippi Flyway Council still must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That final approval usually comes in late September. (See accompanying chart for dates and quotas.)

The fall flight forecast for the Mississippi Valley flock of Canada geese is 697,142, a decrease of 46 percent from last year's forecast. Offsetting the impact of the decline, though, is the fact that production was excellent this summer. The number of goslings found per adult was four times as high as last year.

The Illinois allocation this fall probably will be 54,800 geese compared to 127,000 last fall.

Last year, hunters bagged a record number of Canada geese, 128,387 by state estimate and 124,900 by the federal estimate. Only in the Southern Quota Zone was the season shortened because the quota was reached. Hunters there got 60 days of hunting vs. the scheduled 73 days.

This fall, the state is seeking 70 days for the North and Central zones, and 48 for the South.

This year, for the first time in the Southern Zone, each Canada goose hunter is required to obtain a Canada goose hunting permit along with the state waterfowl stamp. Hunters must mark the date and zone each time they bag a goose, then phone in that information the same day. Those hunting at commercial clubs still must sign out their kills at the club and phone in their harvest.

A special early goose season for resident giant Canadas is scheduled for Sept. 1-15. The bag limit is two here, five in the Northeast zone around Chicago.

Illinois duck hunters will have difficulty matching the excellent season they had in 2000 when they bagged a record 493,000 by federal estimate and 449,698 by state estimate.

This year, surveys on the nesting areas indicated fewer ducks would be coming down the flyways.

Mallards are down 17 percent overall, but the number of young birds is more than double that of last year. Blue-winged teal are down 23 percent but still 29 percent above the long-term average. Green-wings are down 21 percent from last year but still 39 percent above long-term. Pintail and scaup are both down and both below the long-term averages.

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