In the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will finalize the annual federal waterfowl structure under which states within the Mississippi Flyway may establish waterfowl hunting seasons. These federal season proposals will be the subject of a series of public meetings throughout Wisconsin in mid-March.
“The fish and wildlife service has altered its regulatory process that allows Wisconsin to decide the fall waterfowl seasons in the spring rather than in August as it has been. This new process uses previous year’s data to set season structure and with the highest continental duck estimates since the service began conducting surveys 60 years ago. With favorable conditions in much of the state, fall waterfowl hunting opportunities look very promising,” said Kent Van Horn, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist.
Public hearings regarding proposed 2016 waterfowl season structure will be held March 14-17. Feedback received from the public in recent years helped the department develop current season structure, which has been favored by most hunters.
Once every five years, Wisconsin is given the opportunity to review duck zone structure — this will be an important topic in 2016. After public comments have been collected, final season structure will be set by the Natural Resources Board at its April 12 meeting.
Post-Flyway Council meetings/sessions and public hearings will be held at the following locations:
Post Flyway Meetings and Special Sessions
- Saturday, March 5, Stevens Point – Wisconsin Conservation Congress Migratory Committee Meeting – Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center, 2419 Northpoint Drive. This meeting is open to the public and DNR staff will present information regarding waterfowl status and proposed regulations. However, this is a Wisconsin Conservation Congress committee meeting, so participation in the discussion will be limited to committee members. Citizens may submit public comment to DNR staff via email or letter following the meeting,
Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12, Wausau – Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters’ Conference –The Plaza Inn and Suites, 201 N 17th Ave. Proposed season breakout session March 11 at 4 p.m. and March 12 at 10:30 a.m. (The need to register for the conference is waived for people who wish to participate only in a breakout session.)
Public Hearings (hearings will start at 7 p.m.)
- Monday, March 14, 7 p.m., La Crosse – State Office Building, Rooms B-19 and B-20, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road.;
- Tuesday, March 15, 7 p.m., Rice Lake – AmeriVu Inn, 1710 South Main St.;
- Wednesday, March 16, 7 p.m., Appleton – Agricultural Services Center, Main conference room, 3369 West Brewster St.; and
- Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m., Pewaukee – Wildwood Lodge, N14 W24121 Tower Place.
The department will accept public comments on the proposed waterfowl season structure at each public hearing. People who would like to provide input directly or are unable to attend a hearing may submit written comments through midnight Friday, March 18. Written comments can be sent to Taylor Finger, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, via email to Taylor.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 608-261-6458.