DEEP: Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates Set

August 18, 2014
 
Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates Set
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the dates for the 2014-2015 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 2014-2015 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.

New for 2014-2015 – The canvasback daily bag limit will be one bird for the entire season. The NAP H-Unit Canada goose season has been increased by 10 days to 70 days with a three-bird daily bag limit.

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 2-30, 2014. The season in the South Zone (portion of the state south of Interstate 95) will run from September 15-30, 2014. 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 runs from October 8-18, 2014. The South Zone early season goes from October 8-11, 2014. The late North Zone season will be November 11, 2014, through January 7, 2015. The late South Zone season will be November 17, 2014, through January 20, 2015.

The sea duck season in the coastal areas and streams seaward of the first upstream bridge has been set for September 22, 2014, to January 20, 2015. Due to continued concern over the status of sea duck populations and increasing hunting pressure, the total sea duck bag limit remains at five. Sea duck hunters should be prepared that reductions in season lengths are on the horizon in the next couple of years. This may also be accompanied by changes in the bag limit.

The Atlantic brant season is shortened to a 30-day season and will be from December 4, 2014, through January 7, 2015, in the North Zone and December 17, 2014, through January 20, 2015, 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 2014-2015 season. See the 2014-2015 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 14-18, 2014. The second period will run from November 19-29, 2014. The final period will run from December 2, 2014, to February 14, 2015. 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. The daily bag limit in the AFRP Unit is five geese.

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 8-18, 2014, while the second will run from November 17, 2014, to January 24, 2015. This is a 10-day increase in the season length and the daily bag limit has been increased from two to three.

The AP Unit goose season will be divided into two periods. The first period will run from October 14-18, 2014, while the second will run from November 17, 2014, to January 7, 2015. 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 26 through February 14, 2015. 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, 2014, to January 15, 2015, and from February 21 to March 10, 2015. In the South Zone, the snow goose season will run from October 1 to November 29, 2014, and then from January 7 to March 10, 2015.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Training Days
Connecticut will hold two Youth Waterfowl Hunter Training Days on Saturday, October 4, and Saturday, November 1, 2014. 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 22 through November 22, 2014. The second segment will run from November 24 through December 6, 2014. The rail season will open on September 2 and go until November 10, 2014.

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 2014 Connecticut Duck Stamp will expire on December 31, 2014. Hunters must purchase the 2015 Connecticut Duck Stamp before January 1, 2015, if they plan to hunt into the early portion of 2015. 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 leg 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.

{Canadian Geese}

Photo credit: Paul J. Fusco, CT DEEP Wildlife Division
Suggested Caption: The September Canada goose hunting season provides the opportunity to harvest resident 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.