Waterfowl Season Outlook Encouraging

Prospects for a quality waterfowl season in Alabama remain good as hunters prepare for the early teal and goose seasons across the state.
David Hayden, waterfowl expert with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said the number of waterfowl in North America has risen slightly and weather will be the driving force for Alabama’s hunters.
“Teal numbers are still good, like they were last year,” Hayden said. “If we can have some weather to get some migration and we can get them to stop and stay a while, we should have a good early season.”
The special teal season is set for Sept. 11-26 with a daily bag limit of 4 and a possession limit of 8.
The overall waterfowl count for the upcoming season is encouraging with a welcome increase in pintail numbers.
“Duck prospects are real good,” Hayden said. “Numbers are similar to last year, but the numbers for some species are up. Bag limits are the same except for pintail. It’s gone up from one per day to two per day. If we get the weather, we’re looking for a real good season.”
For the regular waterfowl hunting, the seasons for ducks, coots and mergansers are Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 4-Jan. 30.
The liberal bag limit remains in effect. Hunters may take 6 ducks per day with no more than 4 mallards, only 2 of which may be female. The bag limits on other species are: 3 wood ducks, 1 mottled duck, 1 black duck, 2 redheads, 2 pintail, 2 scaup and 1 canvasback. The daily limit on coots is 15 per day with 30 in possession, while the merganser limit is 5 per day, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. The possession limit on mergansers is twice the daily limit.
Waterfowlers get their first opportunity in the field with the special Canada goose season, which runs Sept. 1-15. The bag limit is 5 per day with 10 in possession. In Escambia and Monroe counties only, a special snow/blue goose season is set for Oct. 30 through Nov. 14 with a daily bag limit of 5 and possession limit of 10.
“If folks have the opportunity to hunt geese, we hope they will take advantage of it,” Hayden said. “Hunting keeps the geese wary of man and helps keep them away from public places where they won’t be a nuisance. We also have the start of our regular goose season later in September, so that gives people a second opportunity to hunt geese early.”

The regular goose seasons are Sept. 25-Oct. 6 and Dec. 4-Jan. 30. 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.
Visit http://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/season-limits/ 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. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.