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2012 Wisconsin waterfowl hunting seasons set

According to WDNR’s Kent Van Horn Wisconsin waterfowl hunters should have enjoy a good season; despite this year’s unusual weather.

photo c. WDNR ©2012

GERMANTOWN, Wis. — Wisconsin will have a 60-day duck season and an extended exterior zone Canada goose season of 92 days, under a waterfowl hunting season structure the state Natural Resources Board approved at its meeting Aug. 8 in Germantown.

“Despite this year’s unusual weather patterns Wisconsin waterfowl hunters can expect a good season,” said Kent Van Horn, DNR waterfowl ecologist.

Southern Wisconsin wetlands were dry during the summer but this has resulted in good growth of plants that produce duck food so if rains return before fall, the ducks will have an excellent dinner table set for them, Van Horn said.

“Most of the waterfowl season dates for 2012 are the same as 2011 adjusted for the calendar shift. One important change proposed by duck hunters during the public involvement process was a Monday through Friday closure to the duck and goose seasons from November 5 through 9 in order to extend the end of the north zone duck season for late season hunting to November 25,” Van Horn said. “According to harvest data about 90 percent of the duck harvest in the north zone is over by November 1, so the remaining hunters are those that are very passionate about duck hunting and this change came from those hunters. Some hunters will be excited about this change while others have concerns over the closed days in early November. We will see how this season goes and we can decide next year if the hunters would like to continue with this change.”

As is the case every season, Van Horn said, successful hunters will usually be those who log the most preseason hours scouting out-of-the way potholes and waterfowl habitat, looking for new hunting opportunities away from crowds and hunting pressure. A duck hunter’s fall hunting success depends mostly upon scouting, fall water conditions and weather patterns.

“Thanks to all the folks who took time to come to our public meetings or send us their comments and participate in this season setting process,” adds Van Horn. “Waterfowl hunting is a blend of traditions, friendships and memorable days on the marsh. We wish you a successful hunt and leave you with a reminder to be safe out there in everything you do.”

The season structure includes:

  • Early September Canada goose season – Sept. 1-15
    • Daily bag of five geese
    • Youth Waterfowl Hunt – Sept. 15-16
    • Daily bag is the same as the normal season bag. Youth participants who may hunt geese should note that Sept. 15 is part of the early goose season (early season permit required, 5 bird daily bag), while the Sept. 16 falls during the regular goose season (exterior or Horicon permit required, two bird daily bag)
  • Ducks (Note: opening day shooting hours begin at 9 a.m.)
      • Northern Zone season Sept. 22-Nov. 4 and Nov. 10-25
      • Southern Zone season is Sept. 29-Oct. 7 and Oct. 13-Dec. 2
      • Mississippi River Subzone season is Sept. 22-30 and Oct. 13-Dec. 2
    • Duck bag for all seasons
      • Daily bag of six ducks total which may include no more than
        • four mallards of which only 1 may be a hen
        • three wood ducks
        • one black duck
        • two redheads
        • four scaup
        • two pintail
        • one canvasback
      • For species of duck not listed such as teal and ring-necks, the combined bag total with all other species may not exceed six ducks.
    • Coot
      • Daily bag of 15

“Overall, the status of duck and goose populations is good to excellent in 2012,” said Van Horn. Water conditions were far drier across the prairies than in 2011 but they are still near average for 2012. This good news resulted in the same liberal duck regulations we enjoyed in 2011 being offered again in 2012 with an increase in the daily bag limit for scaup from 2 to 4 ducks per day. Spring duck counts in Wisconsin were about average with variable breeding habitat (south dry, north wetter). Obviously, this dry summer has not aided our local duck production and the fall duck hunting success will depend, in part, on significant rainfall between now and then.”

Read more here:


  • Kent Van Horn – 608-266-8841

Time to plan this fall’s Learn to Hunt event

Have family and friends get in the game!

A Learn To Hunt event can be the perfect way to for a novice to experience their first hunt. For more informtion contact the WDNR.

photo courtesy WDNR ©2012

For many of us in Wisconsin, fall is the best time of year. The days are shorter, temperatures can be crisp, and the skies a brilliant blue. Geese are migrating, deer are beginning to get into the fall pre-rut patterns, and I know I’ll be making firewood for the winter.

It may be high summer now, but fall is a few short weeks away and now is the time to be thinking about how you will fit a Learn to Hunt opportunity into the busy fall. I’ll be hosting one in late September in the Madison area. A LTH can be the perfect way to for a novice to experience their first hunt. Maybe your neighbor down the block is interested. Or, what about your children’s friends? There are many ways to foster new hunting experiences, and now is the time to start planning.

Get to your club or chapter and start brainstorming about how you can build on what you did last year, or start something entirely new. Can you reach out beyond the regular hunting “choir” to introduce someone new? Someone who would not get the chance to hunt any other way? That will really go a long way to making a new hunter.

Last year the goal was 2,000 new learn-to-hunt participants. We made it! The final tally was 2,136 participants, a 23 percent increase. That is a solid, grass roots effort to pass along the hunting tradition. We’re still working toward a goal of one learn-to-hunt event in every county, but last year there were events in 60 counties — a large increase over 2010. The challenge this year is to build numbers in each county. Let’s try to add another 5 percent this fall and next spring.

You can design your own unique learn to hunt. How about a family learn-to-hunt outing? Focus on bringing the whole family out to the field and sharing our tradition and knowledge with them.

Remember, if you’re hosting a LTH pheasant, sponsors can get free pheasants from the DNR game farm for the event.

For more information on all your LTH needs, check the DNR, Learn To Hunt page.

I know you’ll take pride and step up again. As you already know, the future of hunting is up to us – those of us who hunt. Let’s get in the game!

Read more here:


  • Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator – 608-576-5243

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