Outdoors Photo

This kind of success is often typical when hunting the opening days of the Resident Population Goose Season before the flocks change their flight patterns.

HARRISBURG — For waterfowl hunters who would prefer hunting Canada geese wearing long-sleeved camouflage T-shirts rather than bulky, insulated parkas, opening day of the Resident Population Goose Season has been circled on their calendars since the dates for 2019-20 migratory bird seasons were established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and announced by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

This year, resident Canada gees can be hunted beginning Monday, Sept. 2, through Wednesday, Sept. 25. As always, there is a liberal 8-bird daily bag limit, but veteran goose hunters know their best chance for success is hunting the first few days of the season before the flocks change their flight patterns.

Annual migratory game bird seasons are selected by states from frameworks established by the USFWS, and the PGC announced its selections after reviewing last year’s season results, population survey data and public input. PGC Game Management Division chief Ian Gregg said there are three significant changes to Pennsylvania waterfowl seasons this year.

Greg said two of these changes were required by USFWS season frameworks, and they are a reduced daily bag limit for mallards and a reduced regular season length and bag limit for Canada geese in the Atlantic Population Hunting Zone. A third change effects the North Zone duck season with fewer days in late October and early November and more days in late November and early December — which was selected by the PGC in response to public comments.

Other migratory game bird seasons are similar to those in recent years, however, some starting and ending dates are about a week later than in 2018-19 to ensure seasons align with holidays and hunting seasons for other game. Hunters are reminded that 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,” which must be signed in ink across its face and possessed while hunting.

Regardless of age, all hunters must have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird license to hunt waterfowl and other migratory birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, gallinules, rails and snipe. All migratory game bird hunters in the United States are required to complete a Harvest Information Program survey when they purchase a state migratory game bird license and submit the survey information to the USFWS.

Here are the dates for the 2019-20 migratory game bird seasons. For complete information, including bag limits visit the PGC website at www.pgc.pa.gov.

DUCKS — North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 12-26, and Nov. 19 – Jan. 11. South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 19-26, and Nov. 19 — Jan. 18. Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 12-Dec. 14, and Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 28-Jan. 4.

CANADA GEESE/WHITE-FRONTED GEESE — All of Pennsylvania except for the Southern James Bay Population and the Atlantic Population zone: Sept. 2-25; Oct. 26-Nov. 29; Dec. 16-Jan. 18; Jan. 31-Feb.

BRANT (All Zones) — Oct. 26-Nov. 29.

LIGHT GEESE (Snow and Ross) — Atlantic Population Zone: Oct. 1-Jan. 25; Jan. 27-April 24; Southern James Bay Population Zone: Oct. 1-Jan. 25; Jan. 27-April 24.

JUNIOR WATERFOWL HUNTING DAYS — Statewide: Sept. 14; also in Lake Erie Zone, Oct. 19; in Northwest Zone, Dec. 21; in North Zone, Jan. 18; and in South Zone, Jan. 25.

DOVES — Sept. 2-Nov. 29; Dec. 21-Jan. 4.

WOODCOCK — Oct. 19-Nov. 29; Dec. 16-24.

COMMON SNIPE — Oct. 19-Nov. 29; Dec. 16-24.

GALLINULES — Sept. 2-Nov. 21.

VIRGINIA AND SORA RAILS — Sept. 2-Nov. 21.

(Dietz is parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association)

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