Migratory game bird hunters in Wisconsin pursuing ducks, geese, doves, woodcock and other migratory game birds will see some small changes in 2019

This is in comparison to previous years under a new rule that was approved by the state Natural Resources Board at its April 10, 2019 meeting in Madison.

These season frameworks were based on federal guidelines, public comments, input from conservation and hunting groups as well as from results from a waterfowl hunter survey. The waterfowl program expanded its outreach efforts this year to collect public input by using an online input tool and broader outreach via Facebook and email distribution. More than 300,000 people received an email asking for public input, and through social media the department reached more than 51,000 people. These outreach efforts increased participation in public comment on waterfowl season structure by more than 1,000 percent over previous years.

The first of the 2019 migratory game bird seasons [PDF] will open with the early goose seasons (Canada and Light geese), mourning dove and early teal seasons. Regular waterfowl hunting seasons will include a 60-day duck season and a 92-day regular goose season.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:

  • Early teal season length has increased to nine days (Sept. 1 – 9);
  • The three duck zones will open on a single statewide opener for the north, south and Mississippi zones on Sept. 28;
  • A second split in the south Canada goose zone results in a goose season that is open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays; and
  • An increase in the black duck bag limit (from one to two) and a decrease in pintail daily bag limit (from two to one) based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service season framework.

As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required.

Early season dates are as follows:

  • Early Teal, Sept. 1-9: six teal (blue-winged or green-winged)
    WI DNR set limits for Mourning Doves along with other game birds.
    Mourning Dove season will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 29: The bag limit 15 birds per day.

    per day, sunrise to sunset shooting hours;

  • Early Goose, Sept. 1-15: five Canada geese per day, 20 light geese per day (Snow/Blue and Ross’);
  • Mourning Dove, Sept. 1 to Nov. 29: 15 birds per day; and
  • Woodcock, Sept. 21 to Nov. 4: three birds per day.

Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows:

  • Opening day shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise for all regular waterfowl hunting seasons.
  • Youth Hunt: Sept. 14-15;
  • North Zone: Sept. 28 to Nov. 26;
  • South Zone: Sept. 28 to Oct. 6 and Oct. 12 to Dec. 1 (five-day split); and
  • Mississippi Zone: Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 and Oct. 12 to Dec. 3 (seven-day split, closed Oct. 5-11).

The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

  • Four mallards, of which only one may be a hen

    Male and Female Mallard ducks
    The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:
    four mallards, of which only one may be a hen.
  • Two black ducks
  • Two canvasbacks
  • Three wood ducks
  • One pintail
  • Three scaup
  • Two redheads
  • Five mergansers may be harvested daily, of which no more than two may be hooded.

With the elimination of the Horicon Canada goose management zone, the state now has a single statewide goose hunting zone for the regular season. The Mississippi River is a sub-zone within the statewide zone.

The Natural Resources Board approved the incorporation of a second split in the Southern Zone regular Canada Goose season that would close the season down with the South Zone duck season and reopen again on Dec. 14 and run through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Exterior Zone (92 days total):

  • North Zone: Sept. 16 to Dec. 16;
  • South Zone: Sept. 16 to Oct. 6 (5-day Split) and Oct. 12 to Dec. 1 (12-day split) and Dec. 16 – Jan. 4, 2020; and
  • Mississippi Zone: Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 and Oct. 12 to Jan. 4.

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “waterfowl.”


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