Why the waterfowl break!?
By Kamp Cook

Posted: January 9, 2021

Ever wonder why there is a that break in the Duck and Geese hunting season in the Pacific Flyway between January, 10th and January, 16th? Well, if you answered yes, then you are not alone. Several of our listeners to the Montana Outdoor Radio Show have emailed ol Downrigger and asked the same thing. Here’s the reason:

Waterfowl regulations are drafted under the auspices of an international treaty and thus occur within federal frameworks established for each flyway, and are adjusted by states to account for migration timing and hunter preferences. So the States get some flexibility in season setting dates as long as they stay within the main framework. In that federal framework there are only 107 hunting days allowed. Two of those days are taken up by the Youth Waterfowl Weekend in Montana which was on September, 26th and 27th in 2020. So that leaves 105 Duck and Geese days for the season.

So if Montana ran all 105 days in a row, the season would start on October 3ard and it would end on a Friday, January, 15th. Well, a lot of waterfowl hunters thought, “dang, it would be nice to get one more weekend out of the season to hunt since I have to work on the weekdays”. So the Montana FWP came up with the idea to take a break for those 5 days of January, 11th through the 15th then start up again on Saturday the 16th and finish those last 5 days. That way waterfowl hunters could get one last weekend of hunting in, since more hunters have a chance to hunt on the weekend than weekdays. Plus it also allows hunters to get 5 more days a little later in the year. Also that little break might allow birds to relax a bit so when they go back at it on that Saturday the 16th, hunters that did not get any birds or want to get just a few more might just have a better chance of getting some birds before the season ends.

So, mystery solved! That is why in Montana we take a break hunting ducks and geese in the Pacific Flyway between January, 10th and the 16th.