August 20, 2012
Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates Set
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the dates for the 2012-2013 migratory bird hunting seasons, which include seasons for hunting ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, and rails. Specific details on season dates, bag limits, regulations, and other reminders are published in the 2012-2013 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which will be available from DEEP and town clerk offices by early September. The guide also may be found on the DEEP’s Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting
. Hunters need to remember that they must purchase a new Connecticut Duck Stamp for the portion of the seasons that occur in the 2013 calendar year.
September Canada Goose Season
The September Canada goose season will be held in the North Zone (portion of the state north of Interstate 95) from September 4-29, 2012. The season in the South Zone (portion of the state south of Interstate 95) will run from September 15-29, 2012. The daily bag limit remains at 15 geese. The September goose season provides the opportunity to harvest resident Canada geese that breed and spend the majority of their lives in Connecticut. The season is scheduled at a time when most migrant geese have not yet entered the state. Connecticut’s growing resident goose population continues to cause substantial nuisance problems. T he September season affords the opportunity to harvest these birds.
Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots
Duck numbers continue to be high, but production was average this year. The North Zone early duck season opens October 13 and runs through October 24, 2012. The South Zone early season opens October 13 and runs through October 18, 2012. In a change from recent history, the early duck season will open on a Saturday. Hopefully this will allow for more school age hunters to participate with family and friends on an opening day. The late North Zone season will be November 10, 2012, through January 7, 2013. The late South Zone season will be November 17, 2012, through January 19, 2013.
The sea duck season in the coastal areas and streams seaward of the first upstream bridge has been set for September 20, 2012, to January 19, 2013. Due to continued concern over the status of sea duck populations and increasing hunting pressure, the total sea duck bag limit remains at five.
The Atlantic brant season will be from November 10, 2012, through January 7, 2013, in the North Zone and November 23, 2012, through January 19, 2013, in the South Zone, with a two-bird daily bag limit.
Legal shooting hours for all waterfowl hunting (except for the September Canada goose season) are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The September Canada goose season legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Regular and Late Canada Goose Seasons
The North Atlantic Population (NAP) Canada goose hunt zone was split into two zones – the NAP L-Unit and the NAP H-Unit – in 2002. These zones were created to exert more harvest pressure on resident geese in areas where nuisance problems persist. These zones were changed for the 2008-2009 hunting season to account for changes in distribution of migrant and resident Canada geese. The NAP L-Unit was removed, and a new zone, the Atlantic Flyway Resident Population (AFRP) zone, was created. These same units are in place for the 2012-2013 season. The descriptions of the AFRP, NAP H-Unit, and AP (Atlantic Population) Unit are as follows:
AP Unit: Litchfield County and the portion of Hartford County, west of a line beginning at the Massachusetts border in Suffield and extending south along Route 159 to its intersection with Interstate 91 in Hartford, and then extending south along Interstate 91 to its intersection with the Hartford/Middlesex County line.
AFRP Unit: Starting at the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Quinnipiac River excluding the east shore, north on the Quinnipiac River to its intersection with Interstate 91, north on Interstate 91 to Interstate 691, west on Interstate 691 to the Hartford County line, and encompassing the rest of New Haven County and Fairfield County in its entirety.
NAP H-Unit: All of the rest of the state not included in the AP or AFRP descriptions above.
The AFRP unit will have an 80-day season with a five-bird daily bag limit. The NAP H-Unit will have a 60-day season with a two-bird bag limit. Despite a very high 2012 breeding population, the NAP breeding population was still below the 2001-2005 average, which precluded a liberalization of the season in 2012-2013.
The regular goose season in the AFRP Unit will be divided into three periods. The first period will run from October 13-18, 2012. The second period will run from November 15-24, 2012. The final period will run from December 1, 2012, to February 15, 2013. This zone has been very effective at targeting resident geese. A recent analysis indicated that over 98% of the birds harvested in this zone are resident birds.
In the NAP H-Unit, the regular goose season, in both the North and South Zones, will be divided in two. The first period will run from October 10-24, 2012, while the second will run from November 22, 2012, to January 15, 2013.
The AP Unit goose season has been increased from 45 to 50 days and will be divided into two periods. The first period will run from October 19 to October 24, 2012, while the second will run from November 17, 2012, to January 8, 2013. The daily bag limit will be three geese.
Sportsmen also will have the opportunity to harvest resident Canada geese during the special late season (in the South Zone only east of the Quinnipiac River) from January 16 through February 9, 2013. The bag limit during the late season is five geese, and no special permit is required for this season. Hunters are urged to read the goose zone descriptions. The AFRP zone contains part of the old South Zone (west of the Quinnipiac River), and the AFRP zone is open to goose hunting in January and February.
The dates for the snow goose season in the North Zone are October 2, 2012, to January 16, 2013, and from February 22 to March 9, 2013. In the South Zone, the snow goose season will run from October 2 to December 1, 2012, and then from January 7 to March 9, 2013.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Training Days
Connecticut will hold two Youth Waterfowl Hunting Training Days on Saturday, October 6, and Saturday, November 3, 2012. It is hoped that the two separate days, scheduled at times when migrant waterfowl are abundant, will encourage more youth hunters to participate. Participants must be 15 years of age or younger, possess a valid junior small game hunting license and a HIP permit, and be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. Adults must possess a valid hunting license; however, they are not allowed to hunt waterfowl. Ducks, geese, mergansers, and coots may be hunted. Bag limits and shooting hours are the same as for the regular duck and goose hunting seasons.
Woodcock, Snipe, and Rail Seasons
The woodcock and snipe seasons will be split into two segments. The first segment will run from October 24 through November 24, 2012. The second segment will run from November 26 through December 8, 2012. The snipe daily bag limit has been increased to eight with a possession limit of 16. The rail season will open on September 4 and go until November 12, 2012. Bag limits for rails remain the same as last year.
A Few Reminders
All waterfowl hunters are reminded that, in addition to obtaining a hunting license, they are required to obtain an annual Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. Waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older also are required to purchase a federal Duck Stamp and a Connecticut Duck Stamp. Federal Duck Stamps are available from many local post offices for $15.00. Connecticut Duck Stamps ($13.00) and HIP permits ($4.00) can be purchased at all Connecticut town clerks’ offices and on-line at www.ct.gov/deep/sportsmenlicensing
. A HIP permit also is required to hunt woodcock, snipe, coot, and rails. The 2012 Connecticut Duck Stamp will expire on December 31, 2012. Hunters must purchase the 2013 Connecticut Duck Stamp before January 1, 2013, if they plan to hunt into the early portion of 2013. Along with the purchase of a Duck Stamp, an additional $2.00 donation can be made to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.
Hunters are reminded to report waterfowl bands. Band return information provides vital information for the continued sound management of the waterfowl resource. Please report bands to the USGS by calling 1-800-427-BAND or on the Internet at www.reportband.gov