Tourism,   Leisure Time,   Travel News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)

Illinois waterfowl seasons     Send a link to a friend

Natural Resources Advisory Board will accept public comment
at Aug. 10, 11, 12 meetings on season proposals

[AUG. 7, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- For the 2004-2005 waterfowl season, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is recommending a 60-day duck hunting season statewide, along with 86-day Canada goose seasons in the north and central zones and a 56-day Canada goose season in the south.

At public meetings scheduled next week for each zone, the department's Natural Resources Advisory Board will review the staff recommendations and gather comments from waterfowl hunters before making its recommendations for the 2004-2005 hunting season.

The south zone meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Holiday Inn. The central zone meeting will be Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. The north zone meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Best Western in DeKalb. The focus of each meeting will be waterfowl topics specific to the zone in which the meeting is being conducted. Primary topics will include duck and goose season dates.

The advisory board will further consider and act on its recommendations for the upcoming seasons at its meeting on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. In consultation with the advisory board, the department's final recommendations for this year's waterfowl seasons will be forwarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval.

"Our recommendations regarding waterfowl season dates, the length of seasons and the bag limits are made with the goal of providing as much opportunity as possible based on the best scientific information available," said Ray Marshalla, state waterfowl biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Among the factors considered in developing the recommendations are aerial waterfowl survey data, the historical data on average freeze-up dates and the preferences of waterfowl hunters."

Duck season recommendations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing a 60-day duck season again this year with a daily bag limit of six ducks. Federal regulations will allow 30-day seasons for pintail and canvasback ducks.

The proposed Illinois duck season dates are as follows:

North: Oct. 16-Dec. 14

Central: Oct. 30-Dec. 28

South: Nov. 13-Jan. 11

The daily limit is six ducks, which may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads and one black duck.

Proposed pintail season dates are as follows:

North: Oct. 16-Nov. 14

Central: Oct. 30-Nov. 28

South: Nov. 13-Dec. 12

Bag limit of one.

Proposed canvasback season dates are as follows:

North: Oct. 30-Nov. 28

Central: Nov. 13-Dec. 12

South: Nov. 27-Dec. 26

Bag limit of one.

The statewide nine-day teal season is Sept. 11-19 from sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is four teal with a possession limit of eight.

Duck population information

The total duck population decreased to 32.2 million, which is 11 percent below last year's estimate of 36.2 million birds and 3 percent below the long-term average. May ponds in prairie Canada decreased 29 percent to 2.5 million, compared with 3.5 million last year. The 2004 mallard breeding population on traditional surveyed duck breeding areas in Canada, the north central United States, and the Great Lakes states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan is 8.36 million, which is 5 percent below last year's estimate of 8.8 million. The mallard fall flight index is 9.4 million, compared with last year's forecast of 10.3 million birds. The pintail population decreased 15 percent to 2.2 million, compared with last year's 2.6 million. Pintails are 48 percent below the long-term average for 1955-2003. Canvasbacks increased to 617,000, compared with 558,000 last year. Green-winged teal decreased from 2.7 million to 2.5 million but still remain 33 percent above the long-term average from 1955-2003. Green-winged teal are typically the third-most harvested duck species in Illinois, following mallards and wood ducks.

Goose season recommendations

Canada goose season

The proposed Canada goose season dates for the north, central and south zones in Illinois are:

North: Oct. 16-Jan. 9; 86 days

Central: Oct. 30-Nov. 7 and Nov. 16-Jan. 31; 86 days

South: Nov. 13-Nov. 16 and Dec. 11-Jan. 31; 56 days

In each case, an entire zone would close early if the quota in the quota zone of that region is reached before the scheduled end of the season.

The bag limit is two.

The quotas proposed for the regular Canada goose season are as follows:

Statewide: 74,200, compared with 126,400 last year

North: 23,900

Northern Illinois quota zone: 15,300

Non-quota counties: 8,600

Central: 33,700

Central Illinois quota zone: 17,500

Non-quota counties: 16,200

South: 16,600

Southern Illinois quota zone: 8,600

Non-quota counties: 8,000


[to top of second column in this article]

Illinois will again offer a September Canada goose season in all zones Sept. 1-15. The daily bag limit is five geese for the northeast zone and two geese for the north, central and south zones. Possession limits are double the daily bag limit. Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

White-fronted goose season

North: Oct. 16-Jan. 9; 86 days

Central: Oct. 30-Nov. 7 and Nov. 16-Jan. 31; 86 days

South: Nov. 13-Jan. 31; 80 days

The bag limit is two in all zones.

Snow goose and brant season

North: Oct. 16-Jan. 9; 86 days

Central: Oct. 30-Jan. 31; 94 days

South: Nov. 13-Jan. 31; 80 days

The bag limit is 20 snow geese, one brant in all zones.

Conservation order snow goose season

North: Jan. 10-March 31

Central: Feb. 1-March 31

South: Feb. 1-March 31

No bag limit.

Hunters are reminded that the seasons for regular snow goose -- which includes snow, blue and Ross' geese -- and for white-fronted goose and brant will close with the Canada goose season if the quota is reached earlier in the zone. The conservation order snow goose season will open the day after Canada goose season ends if the Canada goose season closes early due to the quota being reached.

Goose population information

The Mississippi Valley population, or MVP, Canada geese spring population estimate was 726,979, a 27 percent increase from the 2003 estimate of 531,495. Due to survey timing, the presence of molt migrant giant Canada geese on the MVP nesting grounds likely contributed substantially to the apparent MVP population increase. As a result, the total population of MVP Canada geese may not have increased by the magnitude indicated.

A spring with late snow melt often has a negative effect on goose nesting effort. Spring 2004 was a record late spring for the MVP breeding grounds. The estimated number of nests, 138,172, was 23 percent lower than in 2003, suggesting that this year's late spring may have caused many geese to abandon a nesting attempt. Weather conditions were unusually cold and wet during the egg-laying, incubation and early brood-rearing periods this spring. A strong storm in late June may have resulted in fewer goslings surviving. Biologists suggest those are among the signs indicating that 2004 MVP Canada goose production may be well below average.

The breeding population objective agreed to by the Mississippi Flyway Council's MVP Canada Goose Committee is 375,000 breeders. The harvest strategy contained within the MVP Management Plan recommends using a flyway quota of 200,000 when the breeding population falls between 275,000 and 325,000, until the breeding population recovers to at least 350,000. The 2004 breeding population estimate was 276,344 breeders, compared with the 2003 estimate of 360,052. Therefore the flyway harvest quota selected by the MVP committee is 200,000, a decrease of 33 percent from last year.

Because Illinois hunters have been harvesting more giant Canada geese than in the past, the statewide harvest quota is higher this year than it would have been, given the same flyway quota in past years. The current percentage of the Canada goose harvest in Illinois that is attributed to MVP geese, as based on a three-year average of harvest data from 2000-2002, is 38 percent. This figure is down from the 1999-2001 average of 44 percent. As a result, zones that harvest more MVP geese than non-MVP geese will see larger percentage decreases in quotas from last year, regardless of their three-year average harvest. The statewide quota for MVP Canada geese is 28,200, while the quota for non-MVP geese is 46,000, for a total statewide Canada goose harvest quota of 74,200, compared with 126,400 last year.

Youth hunt

North: Oct. 9-10

Central: Oct. 23-24

South: Oct. 30-31

Bag limits are the same as during regular seasons.

For more detailed information on the proposed waterfowl seasons in Illinois, check the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website and click on an expanded version of this news release at the following link:

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

Previous articles

< Tourism index

< Leisure Time

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor