Waterfowl hunters in Georgia can do something in June that they formerly were not able to - make season hunting plans. Thanks to a new earlier approval process by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, migratory bird season hunting dates and regulations were approved for the 2016-17 season by the Board of Natural Resources.
“The 2016-17 migratory bird hunting season will remain similar to previous years, including an early teal hunting season and special youth hunting days,” said Greg Balkcom, state waterfowl biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division. “There is one noteworthy change this year, and it affects sea duck hunters who hunt offshore. The daily bag limit for sea ducks has been reduced to five and can include no more than four scoters, four eiders, or four long-tailed ducks.”
Some need-to-know dates and details for waterfowl season are the September Canada goose season (Sept. 3-25) and the September teal season (Sept. 10-25). Canada goose hunting has three additional seasons: Oct. 8-23, Nov. 19–27 and Dec. 10 - Jan. 29. Hunting season for ducks is Nov. 19-27 and Dec. 10-Jan. 29. A complete summary of migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits is online at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .
Youth Waterfowl Days are Nov. 12-13, 2016. On these two days, youth age 15 or younger may hunt specific migratory birds, such as ducks, Canada geese and mergansers, as long as they are accompanied by an adult of at least 18 years of age (only the youth may hunt).
In order to hunt waterfowl, hunters must have a hunting license, federal duck stamp, Georgia waterfowl conservation license and a HIP permit. If hunting on a wildlife management area (WMA), a WMA license is required. Hunters may purchase licenses online at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at more than 800 license agent locations (list of agents available online).
State license fees help support wildlife conservation in Georgia. The state receives federal funds from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, based on a number of factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses. In Georgia, these funds are approximately $14 million a year and have helped restore habitat and improve wildlife populations, among other conservation efforts.
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations.