DEEP: Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates Set

August 21, 2013
 
Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates Set
 

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the dates for the 2013-2014 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 2013-2014 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which is available  on the DEEP’s Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.  The print version will be available from DEEP and town clerk offices by early September.  Hunters must purchase a new Connecticut Duck Stamp for the portion of the seasons that occur in the 2014 calendar year.  New for 2013-2014 – possession limits for all migratory game bird species that were previously twice the daily bag limit, are now three times the daily bag limit.  This brings the United States in concert with Canada, which changed the possession limits to three times the daily bag limit several years ago.
 
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 3-30, 2013.  The season in the South Zone (portion of the state south of Interstate 95) will run from September 14-30, 2013.  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. The 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 9 and runs through October 19, 2013.  The South Zone early season opens October 9 and runs through October 12, 2013.  The late North Zone season will be November 11, 2013, through January 7, 2014.  The late South Zone season will be November 16, 2013, through January 20, 2014.
 
The sea duck season in the coastal areas and streams seaward of the first upstream bridge has been set for September 21, 2013, to January 20, 2014.  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 is shortened to a 30-day season and will be from December 4, 2013, through January 7, 2014, in the North Zone and December 17, 2013, through January 20, 2014, 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.  Legal shooting hours for the September Canada goose season 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 2013-2014 season.  See the 2013-2014 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide for complete descriptions of the AFRP, NAP H and AP hunting units.
 
Hunters have indicated their preference for the goose and duck seasons to overlap as much as possible.  The regular goose season in the AFRP Unit will be divided into three periods. The first period will run from October 15-19, 2013.  The second period will run from November 20-30, 2013. The final period will run from December 3, 2013, to February 15, 2014.  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 9-19, 2013, while the second will run from November 19, 2013, to January 15, 2014.
 
The AP Unit goose season will be divided into two periods.  The first period will run from October 15 to October 19, 2013, while the second will run from November 16, 2013, to January 7, 2014.  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 15, 2014.  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 1, 2013, to January 15, 2014, and from February 21 to March 10, 2014. In the South Zone, the snow goose season will run from October 1 to November 30, 2013, and then from January 7 to March 10, 2014.
 
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Training Days
 
Connecticut will hold two Youth Waterfowl Hunting Training Days on Saturday, October 5, and Saturday, November 2, 2013.  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 23 through November 23, 2013.  The second segment will run from November 25 through December 7, 2013.  The rail season will open on September 3 and go until November 11, 2013. 
 
A Few Reminders
 
All waterfowl hunters are required to obtain an annual Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit, in addition to obtaining a hunting license.  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 2013 Connecticut Duck Stamp will expire on December 31, 2013.  Hunters must purchase the 2014 Connecticut Duck Stamp before January 1, 2014, if they plan to hunt into the early portion of 2014.  Along with the purchase of a Duck Stamp, an additional $2.00 donation can be made to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.

Hunters are also reminded to think before they hunt, while they are hunting, and after they hunt.  Be respectful of the environment and other people enjoying the outdoors.  And, as always, be safe and have fun.
 
 Hunters should 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.