Summary of Federal Regulations for Migratory Game Birds

In addition to State regulations, the following Federal rules apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting, and storing of migratory game birds. This is only a summary. Each hunter should also consult actual Federal Regulations, which may be found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 (


No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, crossbow, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10-gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  • From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor driven land conveyance, or any aircraft except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor drive land conveyance.
  • From or by means of any motor boat or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefore has ceased.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys or by using records or tapes of migratory bird calls or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls.
  • By driving, rallying, or chasing with any motorized conveyance or any sail boat to put them in the range of the hunters.
  • By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any baited area.

Closed Season

No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season.

Shooting or Hawking Hours

Shooting or hawking hours for all migratory species listed herein will be ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

Daily Bag Limit

No person shall take in any one day more than one daily bag limit.

Field Possession Limit

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or while returning from the field to ones car, hunting camp, home, etc.

Wanton Waste

All migratory game birds killed or crippled shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.


No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: The hunters signature; the hunters address; the total number of birds involved by species; and the dates the birds were killed. No person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.

Possession of Live Birds

Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.


No person shall completely field dress any migratory game birds (except doves and band-tailed pigeons) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to ones home or to a commercial preservation facility.


No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: (1) the name and address of the person sending the birds, (2) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and (3) the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.


For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between a port of entry and ones home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country, except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required above), drawn, and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.

Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp

The law requires that each migratory bird hunter 16 years of age or over must carry on his person a valid Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp while hunting doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, coots, rails or gallinules. The price of this license is included in some license types, and it is $5 on its own. You must complete a migratory bird hunter questionnaire when you get the stamp.

Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp

The law requires that each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or over must carry on his person a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (duck stamp) and the Georgia Waterfowl and Migratory Bird Stamp. You can store an electronic version, or the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp must be signed in ink across the face. This federal license is available anywhere Georgia licenses are sold, and from some Post Offices.

Dual Violation

Violation of State migratory bird regulations is also a violation of Federal regulations.


More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information on Federal regulations, contact:

Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
75 Spring Street, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303

Non-Toxic Shot

Any 10-gauge or smaller loaded with federally approved nontoxic shot of size "F" or smaller. No lead shot may be in possession while hunting waterfowl.