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Federal guidelines allow hunters six ducks a day

West Virginia's waterfowl hunters will be able to take up to six ducks a day, according to season guidelines recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The guidelines, or "frameworks," as agency officials call them, call for a six-duck limit in the Atlantic Flyway, an area that includes West Virginia. This year's Atlantic Flyway framework calls for no more than 60 days of duck hunting, which state officials could schedule any time between Sept. 22, 2012, and Jan. 27, 2013.

The six-duck limit could include no more than four mallards (including two hens), four scoters, three wood ducks, two redheads, two hooded mergansers, four scaup, one black duck, two pintails, one canvasback, one mottled duck and one fulvous whistling duck.

This year's federal duck guidelines for the Atlantic Flyway parallel those of the Mississippi Flyway, arguably the nation's most popular waterfowl-hunting area. The framework allows for longer seasons in the nation's two other flyways.

The Central Flyway will get a 74-day duck season (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains), and the Pacific Flyway will get a 107-day season.

The Atlantic Flyway framework also allows for a lengthy 107 days' worth of hunting for snow and blue geese, but those species aren't often seen in the Mountain State. Natural Resources officials usually make West Virginia's snow and blue geese seasons coincide with the state's shorter season for Canada geese.

Last year, West Virginia's Canada goose season was 97 days long. But that included a special 17-day hunt in September for resident birds. The season for migratory Canadas, snow geese and blue geese was 80 days.

DNR officials are awaiting final federal approval of this year's proposed regulations, and the 2012 seasons should be announced by mid-August.

Under the federal framework, the bag limit for Canada geese will be five birds a day.

Reach John McCoy at johnmccoy@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.


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