Waterfowl Numbers Up; Habitat Conditions Favorable
CONTACT: David Hayden, 334-242-3465
Conditions for a successful waterfowl season for Alabama hunters appear to be excellent as the special early teal and goose seasons approach.
David Hayden, waterfowl expert with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said abundant rainfall throughout the nesting areas, as well as along the Central Flyway, has improved the habitat significantly.
“Water conditions have been good this year,” Hayden said. “I’m optimistic that we’ve had good food production. Hopefully there will be a lot of seed and good mast crop with plenty of acorns for the birds. We’ve still got August, September and October to go through, and we could have some dry periods, but it looks good now.”
Waterfowlers get their first opportunity in the field with the special Canada goose season, which runs Sept. 1-15. The bag limit is five per day with 10 in possession.
The special teal season is set for Sept. 5-20 with a daily bag limit of four and a possession limit of eight.
“Teal numbers are up this year so we hope that the cooler weather they’ve had this summer up north will mean more birds in our area when the early season opens,” Hayden said.
For the regular waterfowl seasons, the seasons for ducks, coots and mergansers are Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 5-Jan. 31.
The liberal bag limit is still in effect, although the limits on several species have changed. Hunters may take six ducks per day with no more than four mallards, only two of which may be female. The bag limits on other species are: 3 wood ducks, 1 mottled duck, 1 black duck, 2 redheads, 1 pintail, 2 scaup and 1 canvasback. Last year canvasback harvest was prohibited. However, Hayden said the population has recovered enough to allow one canvasback in the bag limit.
The goose seasons are Sept. 26-Oct. 7 and Dec. 5-Jan. 31. The daily bag limit is 5 with no more than 2 Canada geese or 2 white-fronted geese. The possession limit of 5 shall include no more than 4 Canada geese and white-fronted geese in aggregate.
The use of non-toxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting in Alabama. A valid hunting license and state and federal waterfowl stamps are required, as well as a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset statewide except for the area of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta north of Battleship Parkway, west of Alabama Highway 225, south of the CSX Railroad tracks, and east of the west bank of the Mobile River. In that area of the Delta, shooting hours are one-half before sunrise until 12 noon Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
for all hunting regulations for the upcoming seasons. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.