Waterfowl hunters will get same limits in 2011WATERTOWN — U.S. and Canada waterfowl experts who comprise the regional Central Flyway Council didn’t agree with proposals to increase bag limits for hunters in South Dakota for redhead ducks and Canada geese.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
WATERTOWN — U.S. and Canada waterfowl experts who comprise the regional Central Flyway Council didn’t agree with proposals to increase bag limits for hunters in South Dakota for redhead ducks and Canada geese.
So, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission backed away from those ideas Friday. The commissioners kept the bag limits for ducks and geese at the same levels for the 2011 seasons as they were for 2010.
The commissioners had considered whether to allow hunters to each take three redheads rather than two per day, and four Canada geese rather than three per day.
The duck population at South Dakota is estimated at 6.2 million this year, which state waterfowl biologist Rocco Murano described as “pretty phenomenal.” That is 167 percent above the longterm average.
“Redheads are doing extremely well this year,” Murano said. They are at 180 percent of long-term average in South Dakota and up 12 percent from a year ago, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aerial surveys.
He said the population of resident Canada geese has increased too. It’s estimated at about 227,000, a 39 percent increase.
“Native geese are as big of a problem as muskrats,” commissioner Jim Spies of Watertown said.
Murano said South Dakota already is doing all it legally can to control the geese population.
There were about 14,000 resident hunters and about 4,100 non-residents who pursued ducks in 2010.
They took an estimated 262,300 ducks of all types, the largest harvest in at least five years.
For Canada geese, there were about 13,550 resident hunters and about 2,200 nonresidents. They harvested an estimated 129,628 Canada geese, the largest number in five years.
The only written comment regarding the proposed 2011 duck regulations suggested the state commission should increase the pintail harvest. No written comments were received on the goose regulations.
One person testified at the public hearing Thursday. He suggested allowing hunting geese for a half-hour after sundown.
Murano said that’s outside the federal regulatory framework for migratory birds.