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DNR Announces 2012-2013 Late Waterfowl Hunting Season Proposals

Comment Deadline August 14

Annapolis, Md. (July 31, 2012) ─ The proposed 2012-2013 late waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits are now available. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will accept public comment on the proposed regulations through August 14 and will announce the finalized results in early September.

“We are pleased to offer a variety of opportunities for hunters to continue the great tradition of waterfowl hunting in Maryland,” said DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “Our proposed seasons and bag limits are designed to maximize recreation while maintaining sustainable waterfowl populations. As always, we are looking forward to an active public participation process as we move towards finalizing these proposals.”

This year’s eastern mallard population, at 838,000, is large enough to allow a liberal duck hunting package in the Atlantic flyway states. As a result, DNR is proposing a 60-day duck season with a six-bird daily bag limit for 2012-13.

“Although breeding habitat for ducks was generally less favorable this year in some areas of the north-central U.S. and prairie region of Canada, the conditions in eastern Canada were quite good, allowing for a liberal harvest scenario,” said Peditto. “Additionally, there are several exciting opportunities being offered in this season’s proposals, including an overlapping of the duck and migratory goose seasons during the prime winter split.”

DNR is proposing three significant changes to the waterfowl hunting regulations this year:

  • For youth hunters and their adult mentors, DNR is offering the second youth waterfowl hunting day on February 9, about two weeks after the regular waterfowl season closes.

    "We pushed back this second youth hunting day in response to the substantial input received in 2011 to hold one of the youth waterfowl days in late winter,” said DNR’s Waterfowl Project Leader Larry Hindman.

  • The second change, of interest to most diving duck hunters, will increase the proposed daily bag limit for scaup from two to four per day.

    "The breeding scaup estimate has increased since 2006 and reached 5.4 million birds this spring ─ a 22 percent increase over last year’s estimate,” said Hindman. “This increase in scaup triggered a liberalization of the daily bag limit for these popular diving ducks.”

    The canvasback daily bag limit will remain one canvasback per day during the full 60-day regular duck season.

  • The third change, welcome news to Maryland goose hunters, would expand the season length for Atlantic Population (AP) Canada geese from 45 to 50 days. The 2012 spring breeding pair survey of AP Canada geese totaled 190,300 pairs, similar to the 2011 index of 216,000 pairs.

    "The habitat and weather conditions on key AP goose breeding areas along the Hudson Bay coast appeared to be average this year, a meaningful improvement over the poor conditions of 2011,” said Hindman. “This modest increase in season length will have little impact on the overall harvest while affording several additional hunting opportunities during the peak of the season.”

DNR will host a public meeting to collect comments at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 13 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills. Hunters can view and comment on the proposed Maryland 2012-2013 late waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits online at dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/lwfchart.asp.

Comments may also be submitted by phone to 410-260-8540; fax to 410-260-8596; or in writing to: Director, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21401. The comment period ends at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14.

In addition to the proposed waterfowl seasons, a discussion on several management options for the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area impoundment will be presented at the August 13 public meeting. Hunters will be encouraged to offer their thoughts and comments on the management of this popular area.

Chesapeake College is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore off of Route 50 at 1000 College Circle Wye Mills, MD 21679. The meeting will be held in the Cadby Theatre (H103) in the Kent Humanities Building. Attendees should park in lot G.


   July 31, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov