Montana's Fish &Wildlife Commission is seeking comments on the state's 2013-14 waterfowl seasons.
Among other things, FWP commissioners are seeking comments on a split season for geese in the Central Flyway and on both ducks and geese in the Pacific Flyway.
Proposed dates for the Central Flyway are: ducks, Sept. 28–Jan. 2, and geese, Sept. 28–Jan. 5 and Jan. 10–14, with the goose season closed Jan. 6–9. Proposed dates for the Pacific Flyway for both ducks and geese are Sept. 28–Jan. 5 and Jan. 10–14, with both ducks and geese closed Jan. 6–9.
"The split season would provide an extra weekend of hunting, when more people are able to hunt, in exchange for giving up a few weekdays in January, and would also run the season a bit later into January," said Ron Aasheim, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' spokesman in Helena. "Hunters may see success pick up a bit after the second opening, after a few closed days."
The proposed second opening, Jan. 10, is a Friday. The proposed first opening date—Sept. 28 this year—has traditionally been the Saturday closest to Oct. 1.
Under federal guidelines, 105 days are available for general waterfowl hunting in the Pacific Flyway, while in the Central Flyway 97 days are available for ducks and coots and 105 days for geese, Aasheim said.
The annual May breeding population survey in the traditional survey areas in Canada and the U.S. found a slight decrease in breeding ducks of 10 primary species, but still 33 percent above the long-term average. Mallards were similar to last year and 36 percent above the long-term average.
Changes proposed in bag limits this season in keeping with those allowed under the federal framework include an increase in the canvasback daily bag from one to two, a decrease in the scaup daily bag to three, and an increase in the Pacific Flyway white goose daily bag limit from 10 to 20. The possession limit for ducks and geese in both flyways is proposed to increase from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag, as allowed by the federal framework.
Here is a run-down of the proposed seasons and bag limits for 2013-14:
Comments on waterfowl regulations must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 26. Comment via FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov . Click "For Hunters" then click "Public Comment Opportunities". Or mail to: FWP – Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. For more information, call: 406-444-2612. Final approval of the proposed 2013-14 late season migratory bird regulations is scheduled for Aug. 29 via a FWP Commission conference call.
For online information on the federal duck and wetland report, visit flyways.us.