The state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved migratory waterfowl hunting seasons for this fall and winter that are similar to last year.
Under the waterfowl hunting package, approved during a public meeting in Olympia Aug. 3-4, most hunting opportunities in the state will be similar to last year. That includes a statewide duck season that will be open for 107 days, starting Oct. 13-17 and continuing Oct. 20-Jan. 27. A special youth hunting weekend also is scheduled for Sept. 22-23.
Special limits for hen mallard, pintail, redhead, canvasback, goldeneye, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck will remain the same as last season.
The commission removed bag limits and an early season closure for scaup, which have significantly increased in numbers throughout North America, including Washington.
Overall, this year’s count of ducks on the breeding grounds is up 7 percent from last year, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also observed numbers well above the long-term average. Although mild weather last winter delayed the arrival of the northern ducks, the statewide harvest was still 12 percent higher than in 2010.
Goose hunting seasons will vary by management areas across the state, but most open Oct. 13 and run through Jan. 27. One highlight, for the first time since 2008, goose populations in Eastern Washington are high enough to allow for a September Canada goose season.
The waterfowl hunting seasons approved by the commission, which sets policy for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, are based on state and federal waterfowl population estimates and guidelines. According to those estimates, a record number of ducks, approximately 48.6 million, were on the breeding grounds in Canada and the United States this spring.
In other action, the commission approved a $10 penalty for failing to report the harvest of several specific waterfowl species. Hunters who fail to report their harvest of brant, sea ducks in Western Washington and snow goose in Goose Management Area 1 will face a $10 fine that will be imposed when they apply for a 2013 special migratory bird hunting authorization.
The $10 penalty is designed to increase the number of reports the department receives each year. Those reports help department staffers estimate harvest and properly manage each species.
To learn more
Details on the waterfowl hunting seasons are available at wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting/regulations.