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State Sets Dates for Bird Hunting Season

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced in this press release the dates for the 2012-2013 migratory bird hunting seasons, which include seasons for hunting ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, and rails.

September Canada Goose Season

The September Canada goose season will be held in the North Zone (portion of the state north of Interstate 95) from Sept. 4-29. The season in the South Zone (portion of the state south of Interstate 95) will run from Sept.15-29. The daily bag limit remains at 15 geese.   

The September goose season provides the opportunity to harvest resident Canada geese that breed and spend the majority of their lives in Connecticut.  The season is scheduled at a time when most migrant geese have not yet entered the state. Connecticut’s growing resident goose population continues to cause substantial nuisance problems.  

Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots   

Duck numbers continue to be high, but production was average this year. The North Zone early duck season opens Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 24. The South Zone early season opens Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 18. In a change from recent history, the early duck season will open on a Saturday.  Hopefully this will allow for more school age hunters to participate with family and friends on an opening day.  The late North Zone season will be Nov. 10 through Jan. 7, 2013.  The late South Zone season will be Nov. 17 through Jan. 19, 2013.

The sea duck season in the coastal areas and streams seaward of the first upstream bridge has been set for Sept. 20 to Jan. 19, 2013.  Due to continued concern over the status of sea duck populations and increasing hunting pressure, the total sea duck bag limit remains at five.

The Atlantic brant season will be from Nov. 10 through Jan. 7, 2013, in the North Zone and Nov. 23 through Jan. 19, 2013, in the South Zone, with a two-bird daily bag limit.

Legal shooting hours for all waterfowl hunting (except for the September Canada goose season) are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.  The September Canada goose season legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Regular and Late Canada Goose Seasons

The North Atlantic Population (NAP) Canada goose hunt zone was split into two zones – the NAP L-Unit and the NAP H-Unit – in 2002.  These zones were created to exert more harvest pressure on resident geese in areas where nuisance problems persist.  These zones were changed for the 2008-2009 hunting season to account for changes in distribution of migrant and resident Canada geese.  The NAP L-Unit was removed, and a new zone, the Atlantic Flyway Resident Population (AFRP) zone, was created.  These same units are in place for the 2012-2013 season. The descriptions of the AFRP, NAP H-Unit, and AP (Atlantic Population)  Unit are as follows:

AP Unit: Litchfield County and the portion of Hartford County, west of a line beginning at the Massachusetts border in Suffield and extending south along Route 159 to its intersection with Interstate 91 in Hartford, and then extending south along Interstate 91 to its intersection with the Hartford/Middlesex County line.

AFRP Unit: Starting at the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Quinnipiac River excluding the east shore, north on the Quinnipiac River to its intersection with Interstate 91, north on Interstate 91 to Interstate 691, west on Interstate 691 to the Hartford County line, and encompassing the rest of New Haven County and Fairfield County in its entirety.

NAP H-Unit: All of the rest of the state not included in the AP or AFRP descriptions above.

The AFRP unit will have an 80-day season with a five-bird daily bag limit. The NAP H-Unit will have a 60-day season with a two-bird bag limit.  Despite a very high 2012 breeding population, the NAP breeding population was still below the 2001-2005 average, which precluded a liberalization of the season in 2012-2013.

The regular goose season in the AFRP Unit will be divided into three periods. The first period will run from October 13-18..  The second period will run from Nov. 15-24. The final period will run from Dec. 1 to Feb. 15, 2013.  This zone has been very effective at targeting resident geese.  A recent analysis indicated that over 98% of the birds harvested in this zone are resident birds.

In the NAP H-Unit, the regular goose season, in both the North and South Zones, will be divided in two.  The first period will run from Oct. 10-24, 2012, while the second will run from Nov. 22 to Jan. 15, 2013.

The AP Unit goose season has been increased from 45 to 50 days and will be divided into two periods.  The first period will run from Oct. 19 to Oct. 24, while the second will run from Nov. 17 to Jan. 8, 2013.  The daily bag limit will be three geese.

Sportsmen also will have the opportunity to harvest resident Canada geese during the special late season (in the South Zone only east of the Quinnipiac River) from Jan. 16 through Feb. 9, 2013.  The bag limit during the late season is five geese, and no special permit is required for this season.  Hunters are urged to read the goose zone descriptions.  The AFRP zone contains part of the old South Zone (west of the Quinnipiac River), and the AFRP zone is open to goose hunting in January and February.

The dates for the snow goose season in the North Zone are Oct. 2 to Jan. 16, 2013, and from Feb. 22 to March 9, 2013. In the South Zone, the snow goose season will run from October 2 to December 1 and then from January 7 to March 9, 2013.

Specific details on season dates, bag limits, regulations, and other reminders are published in the 2012-2013 Migratory Bird Hunting Guide, which will be available from DEEP and town clerk offices by early September.  The guide also may be found on the DEEP’s Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/hunting.  Hunters need to remember that they must purchase a new Connecticut Duck Stamp for the portion of the seasons that occur in the 2013 calendar year.

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