The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has proposed its duck and goose hunting dates and limits for the 2008-09 hunting season. While there are not many changes from the previous year, a major note of good news for hunters is the addition of a third wood duck to the daily limit during the later waterfowl season.
TWRA’s late waterfowl season proposals will be presented to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting to be held Aug. 20-21 at Pickwick Landing State Park.
Tennessee again has the option to select a 60-day duck season. TWRA recommends the 60-day season, similar to last year, which is the maximum number of days allowed by the federal structure. TWRA is once again suggesting a split season for ducks to run like last year with only a shift in the calendar dates.
“Although May wetland conditions on the prairies were down, most waterfowl populations held steady,” said Tim White, TWRA state biologist. “However, early summer rains have improved nesting conditions considerably. We expect to have good reproduction in the parklands.”
The statewide duck season would be Nov. 15-16 for the opening session and then run Nov. 29 thru Jan. 25 of next year. In the Reelfoot duck zone, the dates would be Nov. 8-9 and the same Nov.29-Jan. 25 session.
The youth waterfowl season would also be similar to last year with only a calendar shift. For youth ages 6-15, the statewide zone is Jan.31-Feb 1, 2009 while the Reelfoot zone would be Feb. 7-8, 2009.
TWRA recommends adoption of the Federal Duck and Goose Bag limits as allowed in the framework. The United State Federal Wildlife Service (USFWS) has offered the same bag limit choices as last year with three exceptions.
The major change is that canvasback season will be closed this year. Scaup bag limits have been reduced to allow two options. Option 1 allows for a hybrid season of 20 days and two birds, then 40 days with one bird. Option 2 is recommended by the Agency and is recommended by the Agency and is 60 days with one bird per day. The wood duck bag limits would increase to three per day.
The USFWS has allowed a four mallard bag limit (two of which can be a hen) for the past 11 years under the Adaptive Harvest Management framework. Waterfowl populations have increased and decreased over that time period based on wetland conditions but have not shown any relationship to harvest by hunting over that same period.
TWRA recommends the USFWS framework regarding duck bag limits. The daily bag limit of ducks is six and may include no more than four mallards (no more than two can be female), three wood ducks, two redheads, and one black duck, pintail, and scaup. The daily bag limit of merganser is five, only two of which can be hooded mergansers.
Federal frameworks for Canada goose season were extended in the Kentucky Lake Canada goose zone and will allow 72 days of hunting across the state. Tennessee will effectively only have only two functional Canada goose zones in the statewide zone and the northwest zone unless the need comes about to restore more specific management zones.
The statewide zone dates for Canada goose are Oct. 4-Oct. 11 and Nov. 29-Jan. 31. The northwest zone dates are Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 29-Feb. 8. .
Season dates and bag limit for light geese (snow, blue, Ross) will be similar to last seasons with a shift for the calendar. Federal Conservations Order provisions allow the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns from Feb. 9 through March 10, 2009.