ND Waterfowlers: Seasons & Bag Limits Could Be Cut In Half
Many waterfowlers in North Dakota are preparing for a duck season like they have never experienced before in their lifetime. North Dakota has gone from one of the wettest springs of all time back in 2019 to one of the driest on records in 2021.
The ducks have responded with very little production. Mallard numbers were down by almost 49% according to the North Dakota Game & Fish spring survey. The pond index is down by 80%. North Dakota is certainly the epicenter of the drought, but field reports indicate severe drought conditions in southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and conditions have deteriorated in South Dakota as well. Hunters can expect to see significantly fewer ducks this fall.
Despite the grim news, regulations for the 2021-2022 season are expected to be similar to last year, but future dates and limits could be cut in half. We could be talking a waterfowl season that would end in early to mid November with a limit of 3 ducks. You would have to go back to the 80s' since we've seen a restrictive season like that.
The Fish and Wildlife Service uses data from the previous years in determining frameworks, so the decision about the 2021-2022 duck season has already been made before the rains stopped here in North Dakota. That's why you are more than likely expected to see a similar season like last year. The seasons falls into one of three categories, restrictive, moderate or liberal length. We will be looking at a restrictive season for the 2022-2023 season unless the rains come fast. The last time we saw a restrictive waterfowl season was back in 1993.
What remains to be seen, will North Dakota waterfowl hunters continue to hunt with a restrictive season and bag limit? Time will tell.
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