Have you ever wondered where agencies like the NCWRC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service get their ideas for what they think will benefit outdoorsmen? These agencies often ask for public input concerning topics like migratory bird seasons, and they are requesting such input now through April 10.
This request for public input coincides with a new regulatory schedule being put in place by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 2016. In years past, meetings for setting migratory game species were broken into two different cycles, with birds like doves and woodcocks – species without webbed feet – in one cycle, and waterfowl in another, with early seasons typically approved in early July and starting prior to October 1, followed by the late cycle, which have always included the traditional waterfowl seasons that are regularly approved in late August.
Starting this year, all migratory bird seasons will be considered at the same time, and instead of spreading out the approval of both season at different times, approval for them all will be done at the April 21 meeting. This will ensure the Regulations Digest can publish those dates, and will allow hunters the convenience of planning for the upcoming season without having to wait until the late season’s approval.
While the Commission wants feedback on all waterfowl seasons, they are especially looking for input in two main areas. One is concerning the special sea duck season, which is being reduced to 60 days this year. Those 60 days must either run consecutively, or be set in conjunction with the general duck season. The agency is asking for input with special consideration coming from waterfowl hunters who target sea ducks, and those who hunt in the special sea duck area.
The second area is the federal brant season. The Atlantic Flyway Brant Hunt Plan allows for a 60-day brant season, but because of poor brant numbers gathered through state surveys and information from local guides and hunters, the NCWRC is seeking feedback on possibly implementing a 30-day season instead.
While meetings seeking input were once held at locations throughout the state, attendance eventually waned, and little discussion or input came out of them. Online surveys and comment systems have been used effectively in the past few years.
Click here to submit your input on the 2016 migratory bird hunting seasons.