Thursday, August 27, 2015

Commission proposes waterfowl seasons

Beginning with the 2015-16 waterfowl seasons, waterfowl hunters on Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area in Union and Crittenden counties must cease hunting by 2 p.m.

- - - -

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has proposed waterfowl seasons for 2015-16.

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission must set waterfowl seasons within frameworks mandated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because all migratory game birds are under federal control.

The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. All recommendations must be approved by two legislative committees before they become law.

Season dates begin in 2015 unless otherwise noted. Proposed seasons voted upon by commission members at their quarterly meeting include:

Duck, Coot and Merganser
  • Duck, coot and merganser: Nov. 26-29; Dec. 7 to Jan. 31.
Canada Goose
  • Western Goose Zone: Nov. 26 to Jan. 31.
  • Pennyrile-Coalfield Goose Zone (including West-Central Canada Goose subzone): Nov. 26 to Jan. 31.
  • Eastern Goose Zone: Nov. 26 to Jan. 31.
  • Northeastern Goose Zone: Dec. 19 to Jan. 31.
White-fronted Goose, Brant
  • Statewide: Nov. 26 to Jan. 31.
Snow Goose
  • Regular season: Nov. 26 to Jan. 31.
Snow Goose Conservation Order Season
  • Eastern Duck Zone: Feb. 1 to March 31.
  • Western Duck Zone: Feb. 1-5; Feb. 8 to March 31.
Youth Waterfowl Season
  • Eastern Zone: Nov. 7-8.
  • Western Zone: Feb. 6-7.
Daily bag limits for ducks, coots, mergansers, geese and brant remain the same as last year for the 2015-16 waterfowl seasons with one exception: Hunters may now take two canvasback ducks as part of their six duck daily bag limit.

Commission members proposed removing the 2 p.m. closure time for Canada goose hunting in the Northeast Goose Zone for private lands. Canada goose hunting on private lands in the Northeast Goose Zone will now close at sunset, but those public lands with a 2 p.m. closure will retain that closing time.

In other waterfowl-related business, three additional permanent blind sites will be added in the Town Creek Moist Soil Unit at Doug Travis WMA in Carlisle and Hickman counties. These new blinds sites will be included in the Aug. 29 preseason drawing for blind sites.

In other wildlife-related business, the commission also recommended implementing some safety measures at shooting ranges owned by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. Commission members proposed eliminating pistol use at the tube shooting ranges as well as smoking. These ranges will close one day per week for maintenance and event scheduling.

The commission also recommended restricting the use of unsafe calibers that exceed the limitations of the current design of these shooting ranges.

The commission proposed allowing the use of any rimfire handgun or .410-gauge handgun for small game hunting.

In fisheries-related business, the commission recommended permitting the use of pneumatic air bow systems for bow fishing. They also proposed to discontinue private farm pond stocking and redirect public requests for fish to the private hatcheries.