PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON DRAFT 2021–2022 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD REGULATIONS
By angelamontana

Posted: February 26, 2021

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on Draft 2021–2022 Migratory Game Bird Regulations. Although many of the regulations are similar to recent seasons, the department is providing two options for waterfowl seasons based on responses from a Montana waterfowl hunter survey conduct in fall 2020.

One option is a waterfowl season without any splits (Option A) and the second option is the existing season structure with some splits, allowing for early and late season hunting opportunities and, in some cases, an additional weekend (Option B).

Here is a breakdown of the season structure options:

Option A – Season Structure with No Splits 

  • Pacific Flyway (PF) – Ducks, coots, and geese:  Oct. 2–Jan. 14 (no split).
  • Central Flyway (CF) – Ducks and coots – Zone 1 – Oct. 2–Jan. 6; Zone 2 – Oct. 2–Jan. 6 (no split).
  • Central Flyway – Geese – Zone 1 – Oct. 2–Jan. 14 (no split season); Zone 2 – Oct. 2–Jan. 14 (no split season).

Option B – Existing (2020–2021) Season Structure 

  • Pacific Flyway (PF) – Ducks, coots, and geese:  Oct. 2–Jan. 9 and Jan. 15–19 (closed five days, Jan. 10–14) (except scaup season closing Dec. 26)
  • Central Flyway (CF) – Ducks and coots:  Zone 1 – Oct. 2–Jan. 6; Zone 2 – Oct. 2–10 and Oct. 23–Jan. 18 (closed 12 days, Oct. 11–22).
  • Central Flyway – Geese – Zone 1 – Oct. 2–Jan. 9 and Jan. 15–19 (closed five days, Jan. 10–14); Zone 2 – Oct. 2–10 and Oct. 23–Jan. 26 (closed 12 days, Oct. 11–22).

The following changes are also proposed:

Season Recommendations for 2021–2022 Regardless of Selected Option 

Proposed season dates for ducks, coots, geese, and swans:

  • Duck, coot and goose daily and possession limits for both flyways are proposed to be the same as in the previous season, although the final federal frameworks have not yet been announced. The special two-day Youth Waterfowl Season is proposed to be Sept. 25–26 in both PF and CF flyway portions of Montana.
  • Mourning doves:  Sept. 1–Oct. 30. Common snipe:  Sept. 1–Dec. 16.
  • Rocky Mountain Population sandhill cranes (all special drawing licenses):  Sept. 1–Oct. 30.
  • A new sandhill crane hunting unit is proposed for Cascade and Teton counties.
  • Mid-continent sandhill cranes in CF (over the counter license): Oct. 2–Nov. 28.
  • PF swans: Oct. 9–Dec. 1.
  • CF swans: Oct. 2–Jan. 6 (both zones, no split season). A general swan season with both tundra and trumpeter swans being legal is proposed for the Central Flyway.

The department will accept comments to these options through Monday, March 15. FWP staff will provide the public comment to the Fish and Wildlife Commission.  The Commission will consider the proposals during their April 1 meeting.

Comments can be submitted on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov, via email to  fwpwld@mt.gov, or via mail to Bird Regulations, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Public comment will also be accepted at the April 1 Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting during which final regulations will be adopted.

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