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LIBERAL DUCK-HUNTING RULES PROPOSED.

Byline: Bill Schulz Associated Press

For the 1996-97 season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing liberal duck-hunting regulations, some of which allow more hunting than last year.

That's because wet conditions on the prairie-pothole country of the United States and Canada again this year brought an increase in the duck population.

This year's fall flight index, a measure of the duck population, is nearly 83 million birds, compared with last year's final index of 77 million and a low of 57 million in the late 1980s.

Last year's liberalized regulations led to hunters bagging 12.5 million ducks, up from 8.5 million a year earlier.

The service also is proposing a ``Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day,'' a weekend or holiday within 10 days of the regular duck season in which a child could hunt in the company of a non-hunting adult.

``We're very pleased with the way the service has gone with the new program,'' said Matthew B. Connolly Jr., executive vice president of Ducks Unlimited Inc., the country's major waterfowl conservation group. ``It will provide hunting opportunities but still be very much in keeping with erring on the side of the resource.''

For hunters under age 45, Connolly said, this could be the best season they've ever seen.

States may set their seasons within the frameworks mandated by the Fish and Wildlife Service. California has not yet issued its 1996 hunting regulations for resident and migratory game birds. This year's frameworks, by flyway, are:

PACIFIC FLYWAY

Ducks - A 93-day season between Sept. 28 and Jan. 19, except in the Columbia Basin Mallard Management Unit, where the season may go seven more days. Bag limit is seven, including no more than one mallard hen, two pintails, two redheads and one canvasback.

Geese - A 100-day season in most of the flyway between Sept. 28 and Jan. 19. Bag limit is three light and four dark geese, except in California, Oregon and Washington, where the dark goose bag limit does not include brant. Other restrictions vary by state and zone.

CENTRAL FLYWAY

Ducks - In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit, an 83-day season between Sept. 28 and Jan. 19. A 60-day season for the rest of the flyway. Bag limit is five, including no more than one mallard hen, one mottled duck, one pintail, one canvasback, two redheads and two wood ducks.

Geese - Dark geese, between Sept. 28 and Jan. 31, except in the western goose zone in Texas, where the season may extend to Feb. 16. Light geese, season between Sept. 28 and March 10, except for selected counties in Nebraska, where the closing date is Feb. 16. Bag limits vary.

MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY

Ducks - A season of no more than 50 days between Sept. 28 and Jan. 19. Bag limit is five, including no more than four mallards, one hen mallard, three mottled ducks, one black duck, one pintail, two wood ducks, one canvasback and two redheads. The daily limit of mergansers is five, including only one hooded merganser.

Geese - Seventy-day season for dark geese between Sept. 28 and Jan. 31 and 107-day season for light geese between Sept. 28 and March 10. Daily bag limit is 10 light geese, three Canada geese, two white-fronted geese and two brant. There are area-specific restrictions.

ATLANTIC FLYWAY

Ducks - A season of not more than 50 days between Oct. 1 and Jan. 20. Daily bag limit is five, including no more than one mallard hen, one black duck, one pintail, one mottled duck, one fulvous whistling duck, two wood ducks, two redheads and one canvasback. The season on harlequins is closed. The daily bag limit of mergansers is five, including only one hooded merganser.

Public comment on the proposed regulations will be accepted through Sept. 3.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 15, 1996
Words:625
Previous Article:ASSESSED VALUES DROP FOR 2ND YEAR.
Next Article:COMPLAINTS DELAY ZONING APPEAL VOTE.


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