Liberal waterfowl rules OK’d
Published 1:11 am Sunday, August 5, 2007
JACKSON — The Mississippi Flyway Council voted to adopt the liberal regulatory alternative on July 29. This means Mississippi waterfowl hunters will have the opportunity to hunt 60 days with a six-duck bag limit for the 2007-2008 waterfowl hunting season according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
The allowable bag limits for individual species should be similar to last year. The bag limit last year was a total of six ducks, with no more than four mallards (no more than two of which could be females), three mottled ducks, two scaup, one pintail, one canvasback, one black duck, two wood ducks and two redheads.
“There was some discussion on possibly changing the scaup and canvasback bag limits this year, but we will not know the final outcome of those discussions for another week or two,” said Scott Baker, Migratory Game Bird Program Leader for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP).
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Waterfowl hunting seasons are set through a process called “Adaptive Harvest Management.” Through this process, waterfowl seasons have the potential to be either a liberal, moderate or restrictive framework from one year to the next, based on the population of mallards and the number of ponds on the breeding grounds. In the Mississippi Flyway, a liberal framework is 60 days long with a six-duck limit, a moderate framework is 45 days long with a six-duck bag limit, and a restrictive framework is 30 days long with a three-duck bag limit.
“The number of prairie ponds and the breeding population of mallards has allowed us to get a liberal season framework every year since 1997,” said Houston Havens, Migratory Game Bird Program Biologist for the MDWFP. “We’ve been very fortunate over the last 10 years in terms of waterfowl hunting opportunity.”
The MDWFP Commission should set the waterfowl season dates and bag limits during either their August or September meeting. Shortly after the season dates are set, the information will be posted at www.mdwfp.com.
“We hope this year’s increased waterfowl populations and pond counts help out Mississippi waterfowl hunters,” said Kevin Brunke, Migratory Game Bird Program Biologist for the MDWFP. “According to a preliminary report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we had a pretty good season last year with about 19.3 ducks being harvested per person for the season.”