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Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission

Waterfowl and Migratory Bird Season Information

Are you searching for waterfowl and migratory bird season information? See the summary below.

Ducks Seasons and Bag Limits

North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 11-Nov. 29, and Dec. 23-Jan. 10.
South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 18-25, and Nov. 15-Jan. 15.
Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 11-Dec. 13, and Dec. 27-Jan. 1.
Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 27-Jan. 3.
Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 18 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including 2 hen mallards, 2 scaup, 1 black duck, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 canvasback, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck and 4 scoters. Possession limits are triple the daily limits.
Mergansers: 5 daily, 15 in possession (not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, 6 hooded in possession).
Coots: 15 daily, 45 in possession.
Duck Zone Boundaries:
Lake Erie Zone – Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of the Lake Erie shoreline.
Northwest Zone –
The area bounded on the north by the Lake Erie Zone and including all of Erie and Crawford counties and all of Mercer and Venango counties north of I-80.
North Zone – The area east of the Northwest Zone and north of I-80 to Route 220, north from I-80 to I-180, north and east of I-180 from Route 220 to I-80, north of I-80 from I-180 to the Delaware River.
South Zone – All of state not in the Lake Erie, Northwest and North Zones.

Canada Goose Seasons and Bag Limits
This includes white-fronted geese. All of Pennsylvania will have a regular Canada goose season, however, season lengths and bag limits will vary by zone as follows:

RESIDENT POPULATION GOOSE ZONE (RP)
All of Pennsylvania except for the Southern James Bay Population and the Atlantic Population zones. The season is Oct. 25-Nov. 29, Dec. 18-Jan. 15, and Feb. 2-28, with a 5-goose daily bag limit; 15-goose possession limit.
SOUTHERN JAMES BAY POPULATION ZONE (SJBP)
The area north of I-80 and west of I-79 including in the city of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of Lake Erie Shoreline). The season is Oct. 11-Nov. 29 and Dec. 15-Jan. 23, with a 3-goose daily limit; 9-goose possession limit.
ATLANTIC POPULATION ZONE (AP)
The area east of SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of US Route 30, south of US Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, south of I-80 to New Jersey state line. The season is Nov. 15-29 and Dec. 15-Jan. 26, with a 3-goose daily limit; 9-goose possession limit. Exception: The controlled hunting areas at the Middle Creek WMA and all of SGL 46 in Lebanon-Lancaster counties has a daily bag limit of one, and possession limit of three during the regular Canada goose season.

September Canada Goose: Sept. 1-25; 3 daily, 9 in possession (SJBP zone); 8 daily, 24 in possession (rest of state); exceptions:

1.) In the area south of SR 198 from the Ohio state line to intersection of SR 18, SR 18 south to SR 618, SR 618 south to US Route 6, US Route 6 east to US Route 322/SR 18, US Route 322/SR 18 west to intersection of SR 3013, SR 3013 south to the Crawford/Mercer County line. The daily bag limit is 1, possession limit 3; except on SGL 214 where the season is closed to September goose hunting.
2.) Canada geese may be taken on Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area to extend 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road). The daily bag limit is 3, possession limit of 9.
3.) In the area of Lancaster and Lebanon counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, east of SR 501 to SR 419, south of SR 419 to Lebanon-Berks county line, west of Lebanon-Berks county line and the Lancaster-Berks county line to SR 1053 (also known as Peartown Road and Greenville Road), west of SR 1053 to Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, the daily bag limit is 1, possession limit 3; except on SGL 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area) where the season is closed.
Note: Exceptions 1 and 3 do not apply to youth participation on youth waterfowl days, when regular season regulations apply. Hunting hours for all migratory birds, including Canada geese, close at sunset on youth waterfowl days.

Youth Waterfowl Days: Statewide: Sept. 20; also in North and Northwest zones, Sept. 27; in Lake Erie Zone, Oct. 18; and in South Zone, Nov. 8. Refer to PGC website for more details.

Brant (All Zones): Oct. 18-Nov. 21, 2 daily, 6 in possession.

Light Geese (Snow Geese and Ross’ Geese) Seasons and Bag Limits
Atlantic Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 1-Jan. 26, 25 daily, no possession limit. Conservation Hunt: Jan. 27 – April 24; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Southern James Bay Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 1-Jan. 23; 25 daily, no possession limit. Conservation Hunt: Jan. 24 – April 24; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Resident Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 28-Feb. 28; 25 daily, no possession limit. Conservation Hunt: March 2 – April 24; 25 daily, no possession limit.

Harlequin Ducks, and Tundra and Trumpeter Swans: No open season.

Webless Migratory Bird Seasons and Daily Bag Limits

Species Season Daily Limit
Doves * Sept. 1-Nov.15
Nov. 22-Nov. 29
Dec. 27-Jan. 1 15
Woodcock Oct. 18-Nov. 29 3
Common snipe Oct. 18-Nov. 29 8
Virginia and sora rails ** Sept. 1-Nov. 8 3
(The season for king and clapper rails is closed.)
Gallinules Sept. 1 -Nov. 8 3

* Dove season hunting hours are noon to sunset for Sept. 1-25 and 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset for Sept. 26 – Nov. 15 as well as for the second and third segments.
** Bag limits singly or combined.
Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.
Refer to PGC website for further details and regulations.

For information on falconry migratory game bird hunting seasons refer to the PGC website at http://www.pgc.state.pa.us.

Licenses Required, in addition to a Pennsylvania hunting license, to hunt ducks and geese:
Persons 16 and older – Federal Duck Stamp, signed in ink across its face, and Migratory Game Bird License (HIP).
Persons 12 through 15 – Migratory Game Bird License (HIP).
A valid Migratory Game Bird License (HIP) is also required to hunt other migratory game birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, gallinules, rails and snipe. If you purchased a HIP license last year, be sure to provide your last year’s migratory game bird harvest results when asked. By answering these questions you will be entered into a pool of hunters from which samples for federal harvest surveys are drawn. Your responses to the questions improve efficiency and the quality of the information used to monitor the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes.

Voluntary PA Duck Stamp – Helps finance wetland acquisition and development and waterfowl education.

Band Reporting: online at www.reportband.gov, or call TOLL-FREE, 1-800-327-2263.

More details can be found here. Always consult the Hunting & Trapping Digest as well.

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