Hunting - Region 5
Friday, December 21, 2012
BILLINGS — Waterfowl hunters in eastern and central Montana are reminded that the goose season will close for two days in January, in accordance with federal guidelines.
The goose hunting season in eastern and central Montana – known as the Central Flyway – runs through Sunday, Jan. 13. However, the goose season will close for two days in the middle – Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 7 and 8. Duck season closes Jan. 3 in the Central Flyway.
In western Montana – the Pacific Flyway – the season for all waterfowl will close Jan. 11. The Pacific flyway is not affected by the two-day closure.
Jim Hanson of Billings, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks central flyway migratory bird coordinator, said the international Migratory Bird Hunting Act restricts state waterfowl hunting seasons to 107 days per year. Montana sets aside two of those days for a September youth-only season, leaving 105 days for general duck and goose hunting.
Montana’s general waterfowl season opened Sept. 29. The 105th day would fall on Friday, Jan. 11. However, sportsmen petitioned the FWP commission to leave the season open for one additional weekend, through Jan. 13. To meet the 107-day restriction, the commission agreed to close hunting for two days in the Central Flyway, then reopen it through the second weekend in January.
In Montana, the Central Flyway includes Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland, Judith Basin, Fergus and Blaine counties and all counties east of them.
Hunters also are reminded that Montana’s migratory-bird hunting hours end at sunset each day – unlike the big-game regulations that allow hunting until half an hour after sunset.
Maps, time tables and all waterfowl and migratory bird hunting regulations are available at FWP offices or license dealers.