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Wildlife Commission Invites Public to Comment on Migratory Bird Seasons Online

  • 21 March 2016
  • Number of views: 12065
RALEIGH, N.C. (March 21, 2016) — The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission invites citizens to provide input on the upcoming migratory game bird hunting seasons through an online comment system on the agency’s website. Comments are submitted by going to https://ncpaws.org/PAWS/WRC/PublicComments/PublicEntry/MigratoryGameBird.aspx. Migratory game birds include waterfowl, doves, woodcock, rails and snipe. Comments on the season dates will be accepted through April 10.

2016 marks the first year of a new regulatory schedule implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Previously, the schedule was divided into an early and late season process. The early cycle included seasons for webless species (doves, woodcock, etc.) and waterfowl seasons starting before October 1. Early seasons were normally approved by the Commission in early July. The late cycle included the traditional waterfowl seasons and were typically approved in late August.  

The new regulatory process will consider all migratory game bird seasons at once and the Commission will select the various season dates at their April 21 meeting. This schedule will allow the selected seasons to be published in the annual Regulations Digest, which will help hunters in planning.

The agency requests feedback on a number of migratory game bird seasons, but would like to highlight two specific seasons. This year, the special sea duck season is being reduced to 60 days. The 60 days must be consecutive or they must be set concurrently with the general duck season. Input into the special sea duck season is requested, especially from hunters that target sea ducks and hunters that frequently hunt in the special sea duck area.

Also, federal brant season frameworks will allow a 60-day season with a two-bird daily bag.  While the currently approved Atlantic Flyway Brant Hunt Plan allows this season, Commission biologists are increasingly concerned with the status of brant in the Atlantic Flyway and the state. Atlantic brant have incurred successive years of poor production on their Canadian breeding grounds. State surveys, along with information from local guides and hunters, indicate that brant numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years. As an alternative to the 60-day season allowed by federal frameworks, the Commission seeks feedback on a possible 30-day season for North Carolina. 

Formerly, public-input meetings were held to receive comments on waterfowl seasons. However, attendance declined over time and public input was minimal at most locations. As a cost-saving measure and to create a convenient means for statewide citizen input, the agency developed an online comment system which has been used for several years. 

The Commission’s website lists the federal frameworks from which seasons may be selected; lists last year’s hunting season dates for reference; and links to a map of North Carolina’s Canada goose hunt zones.

For more information on migratory game birds in North Carolina, click here.
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Media Contact:
Ryan Kennemur
919-707-0186
ryan.kennemur@ncwildlife.org
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