GOOD NEWS FOR WATERFOWLERS (March 25/13)

Readers of this column will recall I’ve often reported on efforts by wildlife associations and hunting clubs to have the waterfowl season extend into January across the province on black ducks, mallards and geese.

Most of the time it appeared those efforts were ignored.  If any word came back from higher up – read Canadian Wildlife Service or Environment Canada – usually it was that black duck numbers were too low to allow additional harvesting in counties where the season has been running from October 1 to December 31.

However, Environment Canada reports that in the past two or three years the black duck population has increased substantially – something like 30 to 32 percent.  As a result, Environment Canada proposes to implement several changes on black duck harvests and the waterfowl season in general.

If implemented as proposed, waterfowlers will have a longer duck season in the province and an increase in the early part of the season in the black duck bag limit.  Here, briefly, are some of the changes proposed for the upcoming waterfowl season:

Previously, the daily bag limit for ducks was six and not more than four could be black ducks.  For the 2013-2014 hunting season it is proposed to increase the daily limit of black ducks to six for the first part of the hunting season – October 1 to December 14.  For the remainder of the season the daily bag limit of six ducks will revert back to four black ducks.

Also proposed is an increase in the length of the waterfowl season for ducks from October 1 to January 14 across the province.  Waterfowlers in most areas across the province, and especially waterfowlers in the Annapolis Valley, will welcome this change.  I believe I speak for Valley hunters when I say we’ve often felt short-changed when we couldn’t harvest black ducks and mallards in January.

I’ve touched only on proposed changes in waterfowling that affect ducks such as mallards, blacks and teal, three birds heavily harvested by waterfowlers.  For a look at other proposed changes, on the possession limit of geese for example, check out the Environment Canada website.

While I’ve used “proposed” for the changes in the waterfowl season and black duck bag limit, I think you can count on them being implemented in the upcoming season.  As I said above, this good news for waterfowlers.  On the down side, similar changes on black ducks bag limits in other Maritime provinces are being opposed – on the grounds that while black duck numbers are up in recent seasons, the population is still low compared to what it was a decade or so ago.

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