outdoors photo

Pennsylvania Game Commission workers and volunteers place a leg band on a Canada goose during a monitoring session of flocks at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area to help biologists determine the population in setting seasons and bag limits throughout the waterfowl seasons.

Migratory bird hunters will take to the field as usual this year for the Saturday, Sept. 1, opener, but while it will be business as usual for waterfowl hunters pursuing Canada geese, dove hunters will be able to spend a full day afield. Under framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has established hunting hours for doves as one-half hour before sunrise to sunset throughout the entire dove season. In previous years, hunting hours during the early portion of the season did not open until noon, but the new regulation was approved after reviewing last year’s season results, population survey data and input gathered from hunters and the public.

Dates and bag limits for post-September Canada goose seasons, as well as light goose and Atlantic brant seasons, remain similar to those from 2017-18. For ducks, season dates in all four of Pennsylvania’s established zones are similar to those selected in 2017-18, and with the exception of an increase in the daily bag limit for pintails from one to two, but overall and species-specific duck bag limits are identical to last year’s. Migratory game bird hunters are required to obtain and carry a Pennsylvania migratory game bird license as well as a general hunting, combination or lifetime license. To hunt waterfowl, in addition to a regular Pennsylvania hunting license, persons 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly referred to as a “Duck Stamp,” and be signed in ink across its face and possessed while hunting.

A temporary, electronic eDuck Federal Duck Stamp may be purchased online through the Pennsylvania Automated License System and is valid for 45 days from date of purchase to hunt migratory waterfowl within Pennsylvania and other states that have approved its validity. The eDuck stamp may be printed out or downloaded onto a mobile device, and must be carried while hunting waterfowl, and within 45 days of purchasing an eDuck stamp, a physical Duck Stamp will be mailed to the purchaser, at which time it should be signed and carried afield while hunting.

Brant: All zones — Oct. 13-Dec. 21; 2 daily, 6 in possession.

Canada and White-Fronted Geese: Resident Population Goose Zone — Sept. 1-25, 8- goose daily bag limit; Oct. 27-Nov. 24, Dec. 17-Jan. 19, and Jan. 26-Feb. 23, 5-goose daily bag limit in latter 3 segments.

Southern James Bay Population Zone — Sept. 1-25, 1-goose daily bag limit for entire zone; Oct. 6-Nov. 24 and Dec. 11-Jan. 19, 3-goose daily bag limit in latter 2 segments.

Atlantic Population Zone — Sept. 1-25, 8-goose daily bag limit; Nov. 15-24 and Dec. 15-Jan. 31, 3-goose daily bag limit in latter two segments; Exception — Areas outside of the controlled goose hunting areas at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and State Game Lands 46 in Lebanon-Lancaster counties have a daily limit of one, and a possession limit of three during the regular Canada goose season; areas inside the goose hunting areas at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and State Game Lands 46 have a season limit of one.

Common Snipe: Oct. 13-Nov. 24 and Dec. 10-18; 8 daily, 24 in possession.

Coots: 15 daily, 45 in possession.

Doves: Sept. 1-Nov. 24 and Dec. 18-Jan. 5; 15 daily, 45 in possession.

Ducks: North Zone — Oct. 6-Nov. 17 and Dec. 18-Jan. 12. South Zone — Oct. 13-20 and Nov. 20-Jan. 19. Northwest Zone — Oct. 6-Dec. 8 and Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Lake Erie Zone — Oct. 29-Jan. 5; 6 daily, 18 in possession of any species, which may not be more than 4 mallards including 2 hen; 2 scaup; 2 black ducks; 3 wood ducks; 2 redheads; 2 canvasbacks; 2 pintails; 1 mottled duck; 1 fulvous whistling duck; 4 eiders; 4 long-tailed ducks, and 4 scoters. Possession limits are three times the daily limits.

Gallinules: Sept. 1-Nov. 21; 3 daily, 9 in possession.

Junior Waterfowl Hunting Days: Statewide: Sept. 15; also in Lake Erie Zone, Oct. 20; in Northwest Zone, Dec. 15; in North Zone, Jan. 19 and in South Zone, Jan. 26. Open to licensed junior hunters ages 12-16, when properly accompanied, for ducks, mergansers, gallinules and coots and Canada goose as permitted; same daily bag limits as regular season.

Light Geese (Ross and Snow): Atlantic Population Zone – Regular, Oct. 1-Jan. 31, 25 daily, no possession limit. Conservation Hunt — Feb. 1–April 19; 25 daily, no possession limit. Southern James Bay Population Zone – Regular, Oct. 1-Jan. 19; 25 daily, no possession limit. Conservation Hunt — Jan. 21–April 19; 25 daily, no possession limit. Resident Population Zone – Regular, Oct. 23-Feb. 23; 25 daily; no possession limit. Conservation Hunt, Feb. 25–April 19; 25 daily, no possession limit.

Mergansers: 5 daily, 15 in possession, but not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, with 6 hooded in possession.

Sora and Virginia Rails: Sept. 1-Nov. 21; 3 daily, 9 in possession.

Woodcock: Oct. 13-Nov. 24 and Dec. 10-18; 3 daily, 9 in possession.

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