Commission Adopts Waterfowl Seasons

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701,

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AUSTIN, Texas — With the approval of season dates and bag limits Aug. 23, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission set the parameters for what could be one of the best waterfowl hunting season in many years.

Vernon Bevill, program director for small game at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, presented the commission with data showing near record duck populations building to the north and improved habitat conditions on the breeding grounds and awaiting them in Texas. This year’s North American waterfowl spring breeding population survey showed populations of the 10 most popular duck species was up 14 percent over last year with an estimated 41.2 million birds. These counts are the highest since 2000 and just below the all-time record of 43.8 million ducks recorded in 1999.

Texas, along with four other states in the Central Flyway, will be in the second year of an experimental Hunter’s Choice bag limit during the 2007-08 seasons. The Hunter’s Choice allows hunters to shoot five ducks daily, but only one in the aggregate of certain species. In the aggregate category of one bird could be either a mallard hen, or a pintail, or a canvasback, or a “dusky duck” (mottled, black duck or Mexican-like duck) . Since hunters are more likely to take a mallard, the mallard hen thus buffers the other less abundant species.

The general duck season length will be the same as last year in the North and South Zones at 74 days and up seven days in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit to 96 days.

Here are this year’s waterfowl hunting seasons and bag limits:

Early Teal — Sept. 15-23 in the HPMMU and Sept. 15-30 in the remainder of the state, bag limit of four teal in the aggregate. (Previously approved by the commission May 24.)

North and South Zones — Youth-only season Oct. 27–28, regular season Nov. 3–25 and Dec. 8–Jan. 27.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit — Youth-only season Oct. 13–14; Oct. 20–21 and Oct. 26–Jan. 27 for the regular season.

The proposed daily bag limit for all ducks is five and may include no more than two redheads, two scaup, two wood ducks, and one aggregate “Hunter’s Choice” duck.

Eastern Goose Zone — White-fronted geese: Nov. 3–Jan. 13; Canada and light geese: Nov. 3–Jan. 27.The daily bag limit is three Canada, two white-fronted and 20 light geese.

Western Goose Zone — Nov. 3–Feb. 5 with a daily bag limit of five dark geese, of which four may be Canada geese and one white-fronted. The bag limit on light geese is 20 per day.

The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit for Canada and white-fronted geese and no possession limit for “light geese.”

The Light Goose Conservation Order will start at the close of the regular goose seasons and run through March 30 in both zones.

Sandhill Crane Zone A — Nov. 3-Feb. 3 with a daily bag limit of three.

Sandhill Crane Zone B — Nov. 23-Feb. 3 with a daily bag limit of three.

Sandhill Crane Zone C — Dec. 22-Jan. 27 with a daily bag limit of two.