Four public hearings allow waterfowlers to provide Wisconsin DNR comments on fall duck, goose hunting season structure

Proposed 2017 migratory bird season structure and daily bag limits will be the subject of March public hearings at four sites in Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin DNR)

Wisconsin waterfowl hunters may provide their thoughts on fall duck and goose seasons by attending one of four meetings scheduled around the state this week, or by going to the DNR website to submit their thoughts electronically.

Duck and goose hunters who are used to attending these types of hearings in August should know that the season-setting process formerly used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has changed. Those hearings now take place in March, with the USFWS setting up the season framework in late April instead of late August, as had happened in the past.

The USFWS now uses the previous year’s population and breeding survey information to set seasons earlier, according to Taylor Finger, the Wisconsin DNR’s waterfowl ecologist.

“The 2017 waterfowl seasons will be based on the 2016 continental waterfowl population estimates that were at near record estimates since USFWS surveys began 61 years ago,” said Finger.

“Due to very wet fall and winter seasons we expect populations to remain high in 2017 and if we have favorable conditions this fall, hunters can expect good hunting opportunities”

The four public hearings will all begin at 7 p.m. The dates and locations:

  • Monday, March 13, La Crosse, state office building, Rooms B-19 and B-20, 3550 Mormon Coulee Rd.;
  • Tuesday, March 14, Rice Lake, AmeriVu Inn, 1710 South Main Street;
  • Wednesday, March 15, Appleton, Agricultural Services Center, main conference room, 3369 West Brewster St.;
  • Thursday, March 16, Pewaukee, Wildwood Lodge, N14 W24121 Tower Place.

Waterfowlers who can’t make the hearings may submit comments by mail or email through midnight Friday, March 17 to: Taylor Finger, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, or taylor.finger@wisconsin.gov.

The final season structure will be set by the Natural Resources Board at its April 12 meeting in Madison.

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