This fall, early-teal-season hunters may have an opportunity to bag more teal. Additionally, if the Department of Interior finalizes the waterfowl harvest regulations as initially proposed, the possession limit would increase. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a six-teal bag limit for early teal season and a possession limit for all seasons equivalent to three daily bag limits. Current limits are a four-teal daily bag during the special season and a possession limit of two daily bag limits.
"Ducks Unlimited is always pleased to see increased opportunities for waterfowl hunting," said DU Chief Scientist Dale Humburg. "Harvest regulations are biologically based, and teal population trends have certainly been favorable in recent years."
Habitat conditions in the prairie pothole region have generally been wet and favorable for the last several years, laying the foundation for excellent nesting success for prairie nesters. Habitat conservation efforts by DU and others across North America have also served to bolster waterfowl populations.
"To date, Ducks Unlimited has helped conserved more than 13 million acres of important waterfowl habitat across the continent, but we cannot rest on that success," Humburg said. "Despite record numbers in the breeding waterfowl survey over the last few years, if left unchecked, all prairie-breeding ducks will be negatively impacted by the continuing trend of wetland and grassland losses."
The higher possession limit will be especially helpful for the thousands of waterfowl hunters who travel for hunting trips each year and want to take their harvest home with them. If approved, they will be able to possess up to three daily bag limits at a time, rather than two. For hunters that take week-long trips across the country to harvest waterfowl, this change will make a difference. Because state regulations may vary within the federal framework, DU reminds hunters to check state-specific regulations before heading to the marsh.
"If you support waterfowl conservation efforts in North America, you can look upon these regulation changes as the fruits of your labor," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "If you do not currently support waterfowl conservation, please consider helping ensure that future generations have the same chance to experience the majesty of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife that you have."
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.