Montana duck and goose hunters can look forward to some good hunting beginning Oct. 2 in the Central and Pacific flyways. Montana's youth waterfowl season is Sept. 25-26.
Seasons and bag limits will be similar to last year's, with one change. In the Central Flyway the pintail daily bag limit will go from one to two.
May population surveys of 10 species combined showed numbers in the traditional survey areas in North America were similar to last year, and 21 percent above the long-term average. Mallards, of special interest to many Montana hunters, were similar to last year and 12 percent above the long-term average. Gadwall numbers remained 67 percent above the long-term average. Canada geese continued to do well, with numbers well above the long-term average.
Ponds numbers in the May survey for Prairie Canada and the U.S. breeding areas were similar to last year and 34 percent above the long-term average. Ducks returning to Montana this spring found poor wetland conditions in some areas, although May and June rains helped.
Once again, there is a special two-day Youth Waterfowl Season Sept. 25-26. This is an opportunity for youngsters to enjoy a hunt where the attention is on them and they don’t have to compete with adults. The season is for those ages 12 through 15, but this year for the first time some 11-year-olds will be allowed to hunt. Those who will reach 12 years of age by Jan. 16, 2011, may take Hunter Education and hunt for the entire season. Parents are encouraged to take kids hunting throughout the season, not just during the special Youth Season.
For details on the waterfowl outlook, go a new Web site, http://www.flyways.us to find the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2010 Waterfowl Status and other reports and video links.
Migratory bird hunting regulations, including season dates and bag limits, are available on FWP’s Web site at fwp.mt.gov on the Hunting page under Regulations. Print copies are available at FWP offices and license providers.