Finally, after resolutions, letters and at least one petition by various wildlife organizations and hunting clubs, we have some January puddle duck hunting in the middle and eastern counties of the Valley.

If you’re an avid waterfowl hunter you’re probably already aware of the good news that the duck season will run from October 8 to January 7 in Hants, Kings and Annapolis County. Granted it’s a short extension of the season, amounting to an extra six hunting days in total; but those hunting days are in January (!) which must be a first of sorts. I can’t remember ever having a legal period in January when you could bag black ducks and I’ve hunted waterfowl in this region for over 50 years.

Like a lot of waterfowlers I’ve been moaning and groaning for years over the duck season closing on December 31 in Valley counties, just when the best shooting often begins. But not anymore. Those waterfowl hunting changes are most welcome. We now have six January duck hunting days; many waterfowlers will out there on those wintry days, hoping to bag a few mallards and black ducks. The hunting should be good, guaranteed.

The regular goose season remains unchanged this season, with no extension into January in Kings, Hants and Annapolis County. However, we could eventually see this change, but don’t count on it. I haven’t seen the harvest figures for last season so I don’t know if they’re up, down or what. However, according to the Canadian Wildlife Service, the estimated provincial goose harvest of 12,770 birds in the 2010 season plummeted to 7,720 in the 2011 season. Which makes you wonder why we have a September goose season, especially when hunter numbers remained about the same – 5,696 and 5,619 – in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Another change you should be aware of is the daily bag limit on black ducks. Previously, only four of the six duck daily bag limit could be black ducks. This season, up until December 7, the daily bag limit can include six black ducks; starting December 8 until the close of the season, not more than four can be black ducks. The possession limit on ducks has also been changed and is now three times the daily bag limit.

On the September goose hunting season, which runs until September 17 in this zone, a quick survey I conducted indicates light hunter activity. I contacted a number of avid goose hunters and found few of them would be taking advantage of the September season. Not one of the waterfowlers I contacted was planning a hunt on Waterfowl Heritage Day, scheduled this year for September 21.

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