The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public meeting on proposed season dates and bag limits for the 2012 waterfowl hunting season on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at 6:30 PM, at the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive in Concord, NH. Comments at the meeting will be considered in finalizing New Hampshire’s 2012 waterfowl season dates.
In the traditional survey area of the prairies and potholes in the Midwest, the total duck population increased some 7% over last year to 48.6 million birds. In New Hampshire and the Northeast, mallard and wood duck breeding populations were also higher this spring, according to NH Fish and Game Waterfowl Biologist Edward Robinson. Canada goose numbers were slighter lower. Nest initiation was some two weeks earlier than normal, and good production is anticipated in Northeastern areas.
Waterfowl productivity in the Midwest is expected to be poor at best this year. Large numbers of breeding ducks returned to the prairies this spring to 32% fewer ponds and much less nesting cover, as high grain price have provided farmers incentive to convert marginal agricultural lands to grain crops.
“If the severe drought continues and moisture does not return to the prairies and potholes of the Midwest this fall and winter, then hunters need to anticipate potential changes to seasons next year,” said Robinson. “The good news is that waterfowl populations are in good shape this year, and federal frameworks will allow for liberal waterfowl seasons in 2012.”
New Hampshire’s proposed waterfowl season is very much like last year’s. NH Fish and Game is proposing a 60-day duck season with a 6-bird daily limit, and a 60-day Canada goose season with a 2-bird daily limit. Fish and Game also recommends continuing split seasons, including both ducks and Canada geese, in both the inland and coastal zones to allow early and late hunting opportunities. This year, there will also be a straight season proposed in the new Northern Zone, where marshes and ponds tend to freeze over earlier than in areas south of the White Mountains. Following are the proposed waterfowl seasons:
- The proposed Inland Zone waterfowl season would open on October 2 and run through November 4; then reopen November 21 through December 16, 2012.
- The proposed Coastal Zone waterfowl season would open on October 3 and run through October 14; then reopen November 21 through January 7, 2013.
- The proposed Northern Zone waterfowl season would open on October 2 and run straight through November 30, 2012.
The NH Fish and Game Department works in partnership with the public to conserve, manage and protect our fish, wildlife and marine resources and habitats.