Indiana waterfowl hunters have a lot to be excited about this year, according to DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps.
“Conditions have been good this year on the northern prairies for breeding ducks, much wetter than last year. This is important because more water equals more ducks. Indiana’s breeding Canada geese have also had a strong breeding season due to favorable weather,” Phelps said.
Phelps, however, also cautioned that waterfowl hunting in Indiana is weather-dependent.
“As a migration state, Indiana needs strong cold fronts from the north to push ducks to us. Without strong fronts, ducks are more likely to trickle south a few at a time, rather than in the big pushes we like to see.”
An estimated 17,466 duck hunters harvested approximately 118,500 ducks in Indiana last season. The top five duck species in Indiana were: mallard, 72,400; wood duck, 16,500; gadwall, 6,900; green-winged teal, 5,200; and blue-winged teal, 3,900. An estimated 14,581 goose hunters harvested approximately 67,700 Canada geese.
Waterfowl hunting season in Indiana is divided into three zones: North, South and Ohio River. Each zone has a different season for ducks and Canada geese. Light (snow/Ross) geese, brant and white-fronted geese are regulated statewide.
The North zone is defined as that part of Indiana north of a line extending east from the Illinois border along Indiana 18 to U.S. 31; north along U.S. 31 to U.S. 24; east on U.S. 24 to Huntington; and southeast on U.S. 224 to the Ohio border. Duck season in the North zone is October 17, 2009 – December 15, 2009. Canada goose seasons are October 17, 2009 – October 18, 2009, and November 7, 2009 – January 17, 2010.
The South Zone is that portion of the state south of the North zone boundary and north of the Ohio River zone. Duck seasons in the South zone are October 24, 2009 – November 1, 2009, and November 25, 2009 – January 14, 2010. Canada goose seasons are October 24, 2009 – November 1, 2009, and November 25, 2009 – January 28, 2010.
The Ohio River zone is that portion of the state south of a line extending east from the Illinois border along Interstate 64 to New Albany; east on Indiana 62 to Indiana 56; east on Indiana 56 to Vevay; along Indiana 156 along the Ohio River to North Landing; north on Indiana 56 to U.S. 50; and northeast on U.S. 50 to the Ohio border. Duck seasons in the Ohio River Zone are October 31, 2009 – November 1, 2009, and November 28, 2009 – January 24, 2010. Canada geese seasons are October 31, 2009 – November 1, 2009, and November 21, 2009 – January 31, 2010.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six. This includes any combination of goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, gadwalls, long-tailed ducks, scoters, teal, wigeon and shovelers. There are additional bag limit restrictions on numerous duck species. Review these restrictions online at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3569.htm. The possession limit for Canada geese, white-fronted geese and brant is two times the daily limit. There is no possession limit for light geese.
The statewide season for Light (snow/Ross) geese is October 17, 2009 – January 29, 2010, with a daily bag limit of 20 and no possession limit. Brant season is October 17, 2009 – January 29, 2010 with a daily limit of one and a possession limit of two. White-fronted geese season is November 7, 2009 – January 31, 2010, with a daily limit of one and a possession limit of two.
The youth waterfowl seasons are also zone specific. The North zone season is October 10, 2009 – October 11, 2009, South zone is October 17, 2009 – October 18, 2009, and Ohio River is October 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009. The youth seasons are open to hunters 15 years of age or younger. To participate, youths must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. An adult may accompany more than one youth. The accompanying adult may not hunt waterfowl that day (except snow geese or brant when and where the season is open). Bag and species limits are the same as those allowed in the regular season.
A hunter must possess a hunting license, resident youth consolidated hunting license, disabled American veteran’s hunting license, or lifetime hunting license in addition to a state waterfowl stamp privilege and HIP registration number. Any hunter 16 years or older must have a signed federal duck stamp when hunting ducks and geese. Resident landowners or lessees, hunting on farmland they own or lease, are exempt from the state license requirement except that a federal duck stamp and HIP registration are still required.
See www.wildlife. IN.gov for additional waterfowl hunting regulations.