MDC sets upcoming migratory game bird and waterfowl seasons

Apr 29, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – At its April 29 meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved recommendations on hunting seasons and limits from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for the upcoming 2016 migratory game bird season and 2016-2017 waterfowl season. The approved recommendations include 20 additional days for dove hunting, a 60-day season for ducks, and changes to season timing and length for geese.

"The federal frameworks for Canada geese and white-fronted geese recently changed," explained MDC Resources Scientist Andy Raedeke. "As a result, the Department was able to eliminate separate season dates for different species of geese and offer a single goose season that begins on Veteran's Day and closes on Feb. 6. These changes will provide hunters with the latest seasons in modern history for Canada geese and white-fronted geese in Missouri."

The Commission also approved recommendations by MDC for the 2017-2020 duck-season-date formulas and changes to zone boundaries.

 

2016 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD HUNTING

 

Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves, and White-Winged Doves
Season: Sept. 1 through Nov. 29 (includes 20 more days)
Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession combined total for all three species
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Sora and Virginia Rails
Season: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9
Limits: 25 daily and 75 in possession combined for both species
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Wilson's (Common) Snipe
Season: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16
Limits: 8 daily and 24 in possession
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

American Woodcock
Season: Oct. 15 through Nov. 28
Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

2016-2017 WATERFOWL HUNTING

 

Teal
Season: Sept. 10-25
Limits: 6 daily and 18 in possession
Hours: Sunrise to sunset

 

Ducks
Season:

  • North Zone: Oct. 29 through Dec. 27
  • Middle Zone: Nov. 5 through Jan. 3, 2017
  • South Zone: Nov. 24 through Jan. 22, 2017

Bag Limit: 6 ducks daily with species restrictions of:

  • 4 mallards (no more than 2 females)
  • 3 scaup
  • 3 wood ducks
  • 2 redheads
  • 2 hooded mergansers
  • 2 pintails
  • 2 canvasbacks
  • 1 black duck
  • 1 mottled duck

Possession Limit: Three times the daily bag or 18 total, varies by species
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Coots
Season: Concurrent with duck seasons in the respective zones
Limits: 15 daily and 45 in possession
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Snow and Ross's Geese
Season: Nov. 11 through Feb. 6, 2017 (new recommendation of 88 days)
Limits: 20 blue, snow, or Ross's geese daily with no possession limit
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

White-Fronted Geese
Season: Nov. 11 through Feb. 6, 2017 (later season with additional days in February)
Limits: 2 daily and 6 in possession
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Canada Geese and Brant
Season: Oct. 1-9 and Nov. 11 – Feb. 6, 2017 (longer season with more days before Thanksgiving and during February)
Limits: 3 Canada geese and brant in aggregate daily, 9 in possession
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Youth Hunting Days
Seasons:

  • North Zone: Oct. 22-23
  • Middle Zone: Oct. 29-30
  • South Zone: Nov. 19-20

Limits: same as during the regular waterfowl season
Hours: same as during the regular waterfowl season
Requirements: Any person 15 years of age or younger may participate in youth waterfowl hunting days without permit provided they are in the immediate presence of an adult 18 years of age or older. If the youth hunter is not certified in hunter education, the adult must have the required permits and have in his or her possession proof of hunter-education unless exempt. The adult may not hunt ducks but may participate in other seasons that are open on the special youth days.

 

Falconry Season for Doves
Season: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16
Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly, or in the aggregate (any waterfowl taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Falconry Season for Ducks, Coots, and Mergansers
Season: Feb. 10 through March 10
Limits: 3 daily and 9 in possession, singly, or in the aggregate during the regular duck-hunting seasons (including teal and youth seasons) and extended falconry seasons (any doves taken by falconers must be included in these limits)
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset

 

Light Goose Conservation Order
Season: Feb. 7, 2017 through April 30, 2017 (new opening date)
Limits: No daily or possession limits
Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
Requirements: Persons must possess a Conservation Order permit to participate in the Conservation Order. An exception to the above permit requirement includes any person 15 years of age or younger provided either she or he is in the immediate presence of a properly permitted adult hunter 18 years of age or older with hunter-education certification or who is exempt.
Methods: For the taking of blue, snow and Ross's geese, hunters may use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds or imitations of bird calls or sounds.

 

Current Zone Descriptions
NORTH ZONE: That portion of Missouri north of a line running west from the Illinois border at Lock and Dam 25; west on Lincoln County Hwy. N to Mo. Hwy. 79; south on Mo. Hwy. 79 to Mo. Hwy. 47; west on Mo. Hwy. 47 to I-70; west on I-70 to the Kansas border.
SOUTH ZONE: That portion of Missouri south of a line running west from the Illinois border on Mo. Hwy. 74 to Mo. Hwy. 25; south on Mo. Hwy. 25 to U.S. Hwy. 62; west on U.S. Hwy. 62 to Mo. Hwy. 53; north on Mo. Hwy. 53 to Mo. Hwy. 51; north on Mo. Hwy. 51 to U.S. Hwy. 60; west on U.S. Hwy. 60 to Mo. Hwy. 21; north on Mo. Hwy. 21 to Mo. Hwy. 72; west on Mo. Hwy. 72 to Mo. Hwy. 32; west on Mo. Hwy. 32 to U.S. Hwy. 65; north on U.S. Hwy. 65 to U.S. Hwy. 54; west on U.S. Hwy. 54 to U.S. Hwy. 71; south on U.S. Hwy. 71 to Jasper County Hwy. M (Base Line Boulevard); west on Jasper County Hwy. M (Base Line Boulevard) to CRD 40 (Base Line Boulevard) to the Kansas border.
MIDDLE ZONE: The remainder of Missouri.

 

Nontoxic Shot Requirements
Shells possessed or used while hunting waterfowl and coots statewide, and for other species as designated by posting on public areas, must be loaded with material approved as nontoxic by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

For more information on migratory-bird hunting and waterfowl hunting, visit MDC online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species.

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2017-2020

 

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives states the opportunity to change the number and location of duck zones about every five years and we consider adjustments to season dates at the same time," explained MDC Resources Scientist Andy Raedeke. "States can also select a continuous season or split season, which refers to a season that is open for a period of time, closes, and then reopens for a second period of time. Once selections are made, Missouri then keeps the same season-date formulas and zone boundaries for multiple years, with the next ones being for 2017 to 2020."

The Conservation Commission approved these MDC recommendations for the 2017-2020 duck-season-date formulas and zone boundaries:

 

2017-2020 North Zone Formula:
60 Days: A continuous season that opens on the first Saturday in November
45 Days: A continuous season that opens on the second Saturday in November
30 Days: A continuous season that opens the Saturday nearest Nov. 14

 

2017-2020 Middle Zone Formula:
60 Days: A split season that opens the Saturday nearest Nov. 6 for seven days, closes for five days, and then reopens for the remaining 53 days
45 Days: A continuous season that opens on the Saturday nearest Nov. 15
30 Days: A continuous season that opens on the Saturday nearest Nov. 19

 

2017-2020 South Zone Formula:
60 Days: A split season that opens on Thanksgiving Day for four days and then closes the number of days necessary to enable the remaining days to extend through the last Sunday in January
45 Days: A split season that opens the Saturday nearest Dec. 10, closes Dec. 20-25, and then reopens from Dec. 26 through the last Sunday in January
30 Days: A split season that opens the Saturday nearest Dec. 15, closes Dec. 19-25, and then reopens from Dec. 26 through the Sunday nearest Jan. 20

 

2017-2020 Zone Boundary Adjustments
The North/Middle Zone boundary in west Missouri will be adjusted to include Smithville Reservoir, the Missouri River, Dalton Cutoff, and a greater proportion of the Missouri River floodplain in the Middle Zone.

The South/Middle Zone boundary in west Missouri will be moved to Hwy 54 to put Barton, Jasper, and portions of Vernon counties back into the South Zone.

 

Hunter Input
Raedeke noted that recommended changes depend primarily upon hunter input and a wide variety of hunter preferences.

"Our goal is to establish zone boundaries and season dates based on hunter input and that best accommodate various types of waterfowl hunters and their preferences," explained Raedeke. "That includes hunters with varying levels of experience and those who hunt in different types of habitat, those who target different species, hunters who have varying physical capabilities and hunters who use different hunting styles."

Hunter input included responses from 3,515 individuals who completed MDC's 2014 Duck Hunter Opinion Survey, comments from 538 hunters who attended one of the Department's 14 recent waterfowl-hunter workshops, and other comments received from waterfowl hunters.

He added that given the range of hunter preferences, not all hunters will be completely satisfied with season dates and zone boundaries.

"Our aim is to accommodate at least a portion of most hunters' desires," said Raedeke. "We listen to what waterfowl hunters want and sincerely appreciate their time, effort, and input."

Learn more about the opinions of Missouri duck hunters regarding season dates and zone boundaries, as well as the rationale behind the changes that will go into effect in 2017, through the Missouri Duck Season Structure Evaluation Recommendation and Hunter Input report available online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/waterfowl/waterfowl-reports-prospects.

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