Fish & Game seeks input on migratory bird seasons

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COEUR d’ALENE — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the upcoming migratory game bird seasons.

To view and comment on the season proposals, visit Fish and Game’s public involvement page at https://idfg.idaho.gov/comment

Like last year, a process and schedule established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with states, will be used for setting annual migratory game bird hunting regulations.

This process and schedule will allow Fish and Game to set migratory game bird hunting seasons earlier, which will also allow the Commission to set seasons for all migratory game birds at the same time.

This means hunters will have more time to plan their hunts and hunting seasons for all ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, doves, and crows will be available in the same brochure.

Proposals for the 2017-2018 seasons include:

Waterfowl

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees waterfowl management at the national level, authorized Fish and Game to hold a waterfowl season similar to the 2016-2017 season. Using that authorization as a framework, Fish and Game conducted a hunter opinion survey in 2016 to assess hunter preferences on how to structure waterfowl seasons for the next five years. As a result of this survey, Fish and Game has proposed a 105-day season and a 2-day youth hunt, identical in length to last year’s season.

For ducks and Canada geese, the 107 days can only occur between September 30, 2017 and January 26, 2018. For white-fronted geese and light geese (Snow and Ross’s), the 107 days can only occur between September 30, 2017 and March 10, 2018.

The proposed Youth Waterfowl Season is September 30 and October 1. A seven bird daily bag limit for ducks, but not more than 2 female mallards, 2 redhead, 3 scaup, 1 pintail or 2 canvasback is also part of the new season proposal.

Sandhill Crane

Fish and Game proposes to increase tag numbers in all hunt areas to a total of 550 tags. The proposed daily limit is two birds for all hunts, and the season limit is two birds for each hunter. Sandhill crane tags will be made available on a first-come first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. (MDT) August 1 at all license vendors.

Dove and Crow

No changes are proposed for the dove or crow seasons.

Hunters can also visit their nearest Fish and Game office for copies of the proposed seasons and comment forms, or attend an open house meeting where they can speak directly with local biologists. For meeting details, contact your nearest Fish and Game office.

Written comments may also be mailed to: 2017-18 Waterfowl Seasons, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Comments will be collected through March 24. Information collected will be summarized and presented to the Fish and Game Commission, which will set the final seasons April 11.

The 2017-2018 Migratory Game Bird Seasons and Rules brochure will be available at all license vendors and online by late July.

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