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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Hunting & Trapping > Waterfowl & Migratory Game Birds > Waterfowl Seasons Waterfowl Seasons

Beginning this year, the federal regulatory cycle has been altered. Rather than two separate processes for early and late seasons, all seasons are selected together. The seasons are based on population and habitat data gathered the year before the hunting season. This allows managers to set seasons much earlier in the year. Therefore, the 2016-17 waterfowl hunting seasons are based on the same data that were used to set the 2015-16 seasons, and the biological data currently being collected will be used to set next year’s seasons. Hopefully, this change will allow hunters more time to plan their hunting season, rather than wait until the season dates would normally be released in late August.

Ducks, Coots and Mergansers

Waterfowl breeding habitat in the Canadian prairies was variable last year, but averaged good to fair. The U.S. prairies were largely fair to poor. Both were much drier in 2015 than in 2014. Habitat in eastern Canada was also variable, but good on average.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the mallard breeding population at a record 11.6 million, a little higher than 2014 and 51 percent higher than the long-term average. The total duck population was similar to 2014 at 49.2 million. All dabbling ducks except pintails remain above their long-term averages.

Species Hunting Dates
Teal (Blue- and green-winged only) *Sept. 3 - Sept. 18
Daily bag limit: 6 and Possession limit: 18; Shooting hours: sunrise to sunset HIP Registration Required *No teal hunting on Kankakee FWA.

The U.S. prairies were largely fair to poor. Both were much drier in 2015 than in 2014. Habitat in eastern Canada was also variable, but good on average.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the mallard breeding population at a record 11.6 million, a little higher than 2014 and 51 percent higher than the long-term average. The total duck population was similar to 2014 at 49.2 million. All dabbling ducks except pintails remain above their long-term averages.

Regular Duck Seasons

 

Zone Dates
North Zone Oct. 22, 2016 - Dec. 11, 2016
Dec. 24, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017
Central Zone

Oct. 29, 2016 - Nov. 6, 2016
Nov. 19, 2016 - Jan. 8, 2017

South Zone Oct. 29, 2016 - Nov. 6, 2016
Nov. 26, 2016 - Jan. 15, 2017

The daily bag limit for ducks is six. This includes any combination of goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, gadwalls, long-tailed ducks, scoters, teal, wigeon and shovelers. Included in the daily limit of six are additional restrictions on the following:

  • Mallards: Only four mallards may be taken daily, including not more than two females.
    Wood ducks: Only three wood ducks may be taken daily. 
    Pintails: Only two pintails may be taken daily.
    Redheads: Only two redheads may be taken daily.
    Scaup: Only three scaup may be taken daily.
    Black ducks: Only one black duck may be taken daily.
    Canvasback: Only two canvasbacks may be taken daily.
    Mottled duck: Only one mottled duck may be taken daily.
    The daily bag limit for coots is 15.
    The daily bag for mergansers (which is separate from the duck limit) is five, including not more than two hooded mergansers.
    Possession limit for ducks, coots and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit.
    Shooting hours: one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Shooting hours at some DNR properties may vary.

Geese

At the time of this writing, the 2016 breeding conditions and estimates for subarctic nesting Canada geese are not yet available. Spring arrived at Hudson Bay on time last year. Breeding population estimates for the two long-distance migrant populations of Canada geese that use Indiana (the Southern James Bay and Mississippi Valley populations) decreased from 2014. Production in 2015 for these two populations was likely average to above average.
 
Data on the Mississippi Flyway population of giant Canada geese are still being compiled for 2016, but they increased last year after a three-year decline. Indiana’s breeding Canada geese saw an increase in 2016 of nearly 8,000 breeding birds. Spring conditions were quite wet in most of the state In addition, early reports are that production seems to have been very good. The fall Canada goose hunting outlook in Indiana is good.

Goose season structure has changed substantially this year. The Special Late Canada Goose Zone Season has been discontinued, but we now have February hunting dates in all three zones. In addition, the requirements for the September season have been relaxed. This year we will have fewer September hunting days in most of the state, but a far longer regular season.

Zone Dates
North Zone

Sept. 3, 2016 - Sept. 11, 2016
Oct. 22, 2016 - Nov. 20, 2016
Dec. 10, 2016 - Feb. 12, 2017

Central Zone

Sept. 3, 2016 - Sept. 11, 2016
Oct. 29, 2016 - Nov. 6, 2016
Nov. 19, 2016 - Feb. 12, 2017

 South Zone Sept. 3, 2016 - Sept. 18, 2016
Oct. 29, 2016 - Nov. 6, 2016
Nov. 26, 2016 - Feb. 12, 2017

The bag limit for all dark geese (Canada, white-fronted and brant) has changed this year. The new limit is five dark geese, no more than three of which can be Canada geese. The bag limit in September is five dark geese, all of which can be Canada geese. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit. The daily bag limit for light geese (snow, blue and/or Ross’ geese) is 20, with no possession limit for light geese.  Click here for information about the light geese conservation order.

Youth Waterfowl Weekends

 
Zone Dates
North Zone Oct. 15, 2016 - Oct. 16, 2016
Central Zone Oct. 22, 2016 - Oct. 23, 2016
South Zone Oct. 22, 2016 - Oct. 23, 2016

Hunters must be 15 years of age or younger to participate and properly licensed to participate and must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. An adult may accompany more than one youth. The licensed accompanying adult may not hunt waterfowl. If the accompanying adult does not intend to hunt and does not possess a firearm, the adult does not need to be licensed. Bag and species limits are the same as those allowed in the regular season for ducks and geese.

Late Canada Goose Zone Season

The Late Canada Goose Zone Season has been discontinued this year, since we now have February hunting dates for Canada geese statewide.