fowl waterWESTERN KY (8/16/13) – Hunters across Kentucky will soon be celebrating the beginning of another waterfowl season and all the traditions that make this shotgunning sport so appealing.
 
Hunters rise well before dawn and experience beautiful sunrises on the water, the whisper of wings through the fog, and share a special bond with hunting buddies and hard-working retrievers. There's the thrill of calling wary birds into gun range, the challenge of placing decoys to play shifting winds and building natural, camouflaged blinds in just the right location.
 
"Through the years there's been a strong interest in our early seasons," said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
 
Kentucky has about 20,000 avid waterfowl hunters, Pritchert said. "More people are hunting wood ducks and teal than geese, about 40 percent, as opposed to the 30 percent that hunt geese in September," he explained.
 
To participate in Kentucky's early waterfowl seasons, hunters must have a valid hunting license and a Kentucky waterfowl hunter permit and federal duck stamp for those over 15 years of age. Only non-toxic shot may be used to hunt waterfowl.
 
Hunting gets underway Sept. 1, with the opening of goose season, which continues through Sept. 15. The bag limit is three birds per day, an increase of one over last season.
 
Temperate nesting Canada geese raise their young and spend most of their lives here in Kentucky. "We're hunting geese raised mostly in rural areas that generally fly short distances in search of food," said Pritchert. "During the September season there's no severe weather such as ice and snow to push our local birds southward or bring geese to Kentucky from states to the north."
 
The statewide spring population of Canada geese has doubled from about 15,000 in the mid-1990s, when surveys first began, to about 31,000 today. The count is conducted before nesting so it does not include that year's reproduction. A majority of the birds live in central Kentucky in the area roughly from Winchester westward to Leitchfield.
 
Since the late 1960s, the number of temperate nesting geese in the Mississippi Flyway increased exponentially to more than 1.5 million birds.
 
"In the years that we had a two-bird bag limit, hunters in Kentucky took between 4,000 and 6,000 Canada geese during the early season," said Pritchert. "I'm anticipating the number of birds taken this year will be higher because of the increased bag limit."
 
This summer, biologists and volunteers banded 1,503 Canada geese, a record number, on waterways from Cave Run Lake to Paducah. Adults made up about 87 percent of the banded geese.
 
Banding geese involves placing a light metal band around the leg of waterfowl so biologists can garner information important for waterfowl management. Hunters who take banded waterfowl should report their bands by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
 
Pritchert said nearly all of the September season's band recoveries and about 70 percent of the band recoveries during the traditional November through January regular season harvest are comprised of locally-banded geese.
 
Kentucky's five day early wood duck and teal season opens Sept. 18 and closes Sept. 22. The daily bag limit is four ducks, but no more than two may be wood ducks.
 
"Participation in the season varies from year to year, based on wood duck population levels and water conditions," said Pritchert. "There's lot of wood ducks this year and wetlands have recovered from last year's drought."
 
Wood ducks nest statewide, on streams, rivers and the shallow embayments of large reservoirs where there's flooded timber. The best teal hunting is found on the big rivers, wetlands and lakes in the western third of the state.
 
Kentucky and Tennessee are the only states in the Mississippi Flyway to have an early wood duck season for locally-raised birds. Wood ducks born on Kentucky waterways typically leave the nest and learn to fly by late August.
 
"The justification for the season has always been that only locally-reared birds are harvested without impacting overall annual survival and reproduction," said Pritchert.
 
Author Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.

WK Outdoors
Information and photo provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Visit the WK Outdoors website at www.wkoutdoors.com

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4074

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 27, 2015 3416

Online Petition Seeking Re­opening of Shanice…

by Samantha Carver, SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3279

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
April 27, 2015 2830

Hopkins County Drug War ― Are We Winning?

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2715

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15299

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8415

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 02, 2015 1083

Frymire’s Life Accomplishments, Dedication to MCC…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 01, 2015 847

Above and Beyond: Leighann Stroud

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 806

Two Injured During Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 631

Don't Bet on Supreme Court Overturning Marriage…

by Richard Nelson
May 02, 2015 576

Homegrown by Heroes Receives Donation from…

by Ted Sloan
May 02, 2015 548

Weeknight activities the whole family can enjoy

by SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 525

New Mather Metals to Expand in Franklin

by Office of the Governor
May 02, 2015 486

Hooked on Science - 'Kentucky Derby Balloon Race'

by Jason Lindsey
May 02, 2015 462

Happenings, Meetings Listed for Following Week

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News