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MADISON – Migratory game bird hunters are reminded that Sept. 1 marks the opener for mourning dove, early teal, and early goose hunting seasons.
In 2014, the mourning dove hunting season will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 29. New in 2014, 20 days have been added to the end of the current 70-day dove hunting season.
Dove hunters are encouraged to check out the Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool – a new resource available for 2014. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.
FFLIGHT also allows users to print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and provides measuring tools to help estimate acreage and walking distance. Mobile users can use FFLIGHT on-the-go to find habitat suitable for the species they wish to pursue. For more information regarding mourning dove hunting and the FFLIGHT tool, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “dove.”
Canada goose hunting in Wisconsin will begin with an Early September season from Sept. 1-15, with a daily bag limit of five geese. Shooting hours for this early season will begin one-half hour before sunrise. Goose hunters will be required to slit or punch their goose permit and report their harvest using 1-800-99-GOOSE (46673) within 48 hours of harvest.
The early Canada goose season, with a more liberal bag limit than the regular season, is allowed by federal rules due to the growth of local giant Canada goose populations. The season is held prior to the return of migratory Canada geese. The 2014 Wisconsin breeding Canada goose population estimate of 126,000 was similar to 2013 and the average spanning the last decade. Wisconsin’s resident breeding Canada goose population may be stabilizing at 120,000 after a long term increase.
The department will also offer an experimental early teal-only duck hunting season in 2014 that will run from Sept. 1-7, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Opening day shooting hours for the teal season will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For the remainder of the season, shooting hours will be sunrise to 7 p.m. Please view this informational document for further details. Hunters will not be required to purchase any additional licenses or permits, other than those required for hunting ducks in the regular waterfowl season.
The department will be required to monitor and report hunter performance throughout the experimental three-year period – this will help determine the success of an early teal season.
While the early teal season is offered statewide, there are some state owned properties that have special limitations in regards to waterfowl hunting. For example, Mead Wildlife Area does not allow waterfowl hunting prior to the regular duck season, and Lake Mills Wildlife Area (Zeloski Marsh) has shooting hour restrictions. Please check to see if the areas you hunt have any additional requirements or limitations.
A duck identification tool and waterfowl identification guide is available to help hunters prepare for the early teal season.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded to carefully identify all birds before shooting during early Canada goose and teal seasons. Both wild swans and whooping cranes are protected species in Wisconsin and illegal to shoot. Young trumpeter and tundra swans (or cygnets) are grayish and may be easily mistaken for a Canada goose or snow goose.
The best way to distinguish each species is through call identification. Observers have described the trumpeter’s call as resonant, deep, loud, and trumpet-like. The snow goose has a high-pitched, quavering call. More tips and photos to help identify swans are available through Identifying Swans.
To view questions answered by DNR wildlife experts during a recent waterfowl hunting chat, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “expert.” On the right side of the page near the bottom, under the completed events list, select the “hunting waterfowl” chat.