News of the Week
For Immediate Release: AUGUST 13, 2013
Oklahoma waterfowl seasons set
Season dates and bag limits for Oklahoma duck and goose hunting have been set, and new harvest limits on certain birds means more hunting opportunity for sportsmen.
While most season bag limits remain unchanged from last year, notable changes that were approved this year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include a daily limit increase on teal from four to six, on canvasbacks from one to two, on Canada geese from three to eight and on light geese (snow, blue and Ross') from 20 to 50. These changes are aimed at managing these bird species through protecting their habitats from overuse while providing more opportunity to hunters. There also was an adjustment in the daily limit of scaup from six to three.
According to Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the increases in daily harvest limits do not necessarily mean most hunters will significantly increase their harvests.
"These changes could benefit hunters who happen to find themselves in a lot of birds on a good day of hunting or in an area that birds use heavily," Richardson said. "Another group that will benefit includes those hunters who would likely spend more time hunting these species but couldn't justify the time and effort it may have required in previous years just to try to harvest four teal or three Canada geese. Now they might have more incentive to go, harvest some birds and help manage the populations."
Every year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes frameworks to states for structuring their waterfowl seasons, and Wildlife Department officials briefed members of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on the changes at their August meeting.
In the Panhandle counties this year, duck season will run from Oct. 12 through Jan. 8, with youth waterfowl hunting days set for Oct. 5-6. In Zone 1, which includes most of northwest Oklahoma excluding the Panhandle, duck season will run from Oct. 26 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Jan. 19. Youth waterfowl days in Zone 1 will be Oct. 12-13. Zone 2 duck season dates will be Nov. 2 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Jan. 26, with youth waterfowl days slated for Oct. 19-20. The daily limit of six ducks may include no more than: five mallards (only two may be hens), three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails and two canvasback.
The season for Canada geese this year will be Nov. 2 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Feb. 16; for white-fronted geese, Nov. 2 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Feb. 9; for light geese including snow, blue and Ross', Nov. 2 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 through Feb. 16. The sandhill crane season will Oct. 19 through Jan. 19, and the Conservation Order Light Goose Season will be Feb. 17 through March 30. For more information consult the "2013-14 Oklahoma Waterfowl Guide," which will be available in mid-September.