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Waterfowl season dates awaiting final approval

August 26, 2007|By BILL ANDERSON

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the proposed dates for the 2007-08 waterfowl season. The season dates are referred to as the late waterfowl season dates, because the September dates for resident Canada geese were already out there.

Keep in mind that the late-season dates are still listed as proposed because they are awaiting final approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As most know, all states establish waterfowl seasons from within a framework provided by the federal officials.

Many years of following this process have shown that it would be extremely unusual for the proposed dates to not become the final dates. Be sure, though, to confirm the final dates before heading out.

As reported in an earlier column, several favorable factors in the annual breeding surveys in the prairie country will help waterfowl regulations this fall. For example, the canvasback numbers were up 53 percent over the long-term average, and as a result, the DNR proposes to increase the daily bag limit on cans to two birds per day for the first time in many years.

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Overall duck populations are up some 14 percent over last year, and the proposed regulations reflect this good news.

The following is a high-level look at the 2007-08 duck season proposal:

·Three segments: Oct. 13-20; Nov. 10-23 and Dec. 11-Jan. 26.

·Black ducks: Nov. 10-23 and Dec. 11-Jan. 28.

Hunters should note that the proposed bag limit for ducks this fall is six per day, but may not include more than the following: Four mallards (maximum two hen mallards), two wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, one pintail, one hooded merganser, one black duck (during black-duck season) and two canvasbacks. The duck possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

The following are the proposed dates for migratory Canada Geese, also called the Atlantic Population Canada Geese (eastern counties): Nov. 15-23 and Dec. 15-Jan. 26.

The following are the dates for the Late Season Resident Canada Geese (western counties): Nov. 15-23 and Nov. 26-Feb. 15.

The above dates and bag limits are for general information only. Hunters will need to get a current regulation booklet or download the final approved dates from the Internet and become familiar with all of the details for this coming season. The waterfowl regulations are fairly complicated.

As has been the case for some time, all waterfowl hunters will be required to have a state license, state and federal waterfowl stamps, use nontoxic shot and be in the HIP system to legally hunt waterfowl.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached by e-mail at bandersn@mindspring.com.

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