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Rationale for Waterfowl Hunting Seasons

Federal Atlantic Flyway Season Framework

Waterfowl seasons in New York are set based on framework provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The framework for the Atlantic Flyway is as follows:

Duck Seasons:

Season Length: Maximum of 60 days, and the season may be 60 consecutive days ("straight season") or divided into two blocks totaling 60 days ("split season") in each zone. Seasons may not be split into 3 or more blocks, and zone boundary changes are not allowed.

Outside Dates: Seasons may begin on the Saturday closest to September 24 (Sept 26, 2015) and must end no later than the last Sunday in January (January 31, 2016).

Youth Days: Any 2 weekend days or holidays, up to 14 days before or after any regular duck season framework (between Sept 12, 2015 and Feb 14, 2016). For youth hunters only (age 12-15) accompanied by an adult. Bag limits are the same as during regular season for ducks and brant, but only 3 Canada geese per day in all areas. Youth days are not counted as part of the 60-day regular season, but they do count as part of the 107-day limit for the special sea duck season on Long Island.

Other Constraints: None. The seasons in each zone may be set independent of duck seasons in other zones of New York. Special September teal seasons are not allowed in New York or other northern "production" states. Youth hunt days should not overlap with Youth deer hunting weekend (Oct 10-12, 2015).

Special Sea Duck Season: (Long Island Zone only) - 107 days between September 15 and January 31. The daily limit is 7 sea ducks (scoters, eiders and long-tailed duck), but no more than 4/day may be scoters. NYS has elected to further restrict sea duck hunting similar to other Northeastern states by reducing the bag limit to 6, including sea ducks in the daily bay limit (when the regular duck season is open), and adding a species limit of no more than 4 scoter, 4 eider, or 4 long-tailed ducks.

Canada Goose seasons:

Canada goose hunting seasons are set for "Goose Hunting Areas", which are not the same as zones used for ducks, snow geese and brant.

Atlantic Population Zones ( West Central, East Central, Northeast and Hudson Valley Hunting Zones) - 50 days (3 geese/day) between the 4th Saturday in October (October 24, 2015) and January 31; the season may be split into 2 segments in these areas.

Resident Population Zone in Atlantic Population Flyway (Southern Zone) - 80 days (5 geese/day) between the 4th Saturday in October (October 24, 2015) and March 10; the season may be split into 3 segments in this area.

North Atlantic Population Zone (Eastern and Central Long Island Zones) - 70 days (3 geese/day) between October 1and February 15; the season may be split into 2 segments in each area.

Resident Population Zone in North Atlantic Population Flyway (Western Long Island) - 107 days (8 geese/day) between October 1 and March 10; the season may be split into 3 segments in this area.

The above regular seasons are in addition to September seasons, which are: Sept 1-25 and 15 geese/day in most upstate areas; Sept 1-25 and 8 geese/day in Lake Champlain; Sept 8-30 and 15 geese/day in Central and Eastern Long Island; closed in Western Long Island.

The regular season for Central Long Island is also in addition to a special
late season on the NW shore (east to Wading River), that can be up to 12 days between Jan 15 and Feb 15.

Snow Geese:

Long Island Zone - 107 days (25 birds/day), between October 1 and March 10; season may be straight or split into 2 or 3 segments in this zone.

All Other Zones - the regular season will be a straight season (107 days, 25 birds/day) from October 1 through January 15, followed by the special Conservation Order season from January 16 through April 15.The special provisions (unplugged guns & e-calls) will be allowed whenever no other waterfowl hunting seasons are open.

Brant:

All Zones - 30 days (1 birds/day) between September 26 and January 31; seasons may be straight or split into 2 segments in each zone.

Western Zone

Regular Duck Season Dates:

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, December 6
Saturday, December 26 - Sunday, January 10


Season Rationale -

  • Maximizes concurrent Duck and Goose seasons to extent possible (emphasis on opening dates rather than closing dates).
  • Maximizes weekend and holiday opportunity by making 1/3 of the season fall on weekends or holidays, and not requiring vacation days to hunt
  • Keeps important early December opportunity.
  • Capitalizes on peak migration period of mid to late-November.
  • Balances opportunity across the zone .
  • Provides three weekends plus a holiday during late split.
  • Minimizes "dead-period" after local birds depart and prior to later migrating waterfowl species arrive (Mallards and Diving ducks).

Youth Season Dates:

Saturday, October 3 - Sunday, October 4

Season Rationale -

  • Allows time between the end of the September Canada Goose season and the youth hunt for disturbed ducks to return to normal movement patterns.
  • Allows time between the youth hunt and the regular duck season opening for disturbed ducks to return to normal movement patterns.
  • Avoids the youth deer and pheasant season dates.

Canada Goose Season Dates:

Southern Zone

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, December 20
Saturday, December 26 - Sunday, January 10
Saturday, March 5 - Thursday, March 10

Season Rationale -

  • Maximizes overlap between duck and goose seasons.

West Central Zone

Saturday, October 24 - Thursday, November 26
Saturday, December 26 - Sunday, January 10

Season Rationale -

  • Maximizes overlap between duck and goose seasons.
  • Maximizes weekend and holiday opportunity.

Northeastern Zone

Regular Duck Season Dates:

Saturday, October 3 - Sunday, October 11
Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, December 13

Season Rationale -

  • The first Saturday of October is the traditional opening day in the Northeastern Zone.
  • Maximizes weekend and holiday opportunity.
  • Capitalizes on the peak migration period of late.
  • The second split runs concurrently with regular Canada goose season.

Youth Season Dates:

Saturday, September 19 - Sunday, September 20

Season Rationale -

  • Allows time between the youth hunt and the regular duck season opening for disturbed ducks to return to normal movement patterns.
  • September goose season is open, which allows for some adult mentor opportunity.
  • Avoids the youth deer and pheasant season dates.

Canada Goose Season Dates:

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, November 15
Tuesday, November 17 - Sunday, December 13

Season Rationale -

  • Opens season as early as possible.
  • Maximizes weekend hunting opportunity.
  • Runs concurrently with second split of duck season.

Southeastern Zone

Regular Duck Season Dates:

Saturday, October 10 - Sunday, October 18
Saturday, November 7 - Sunday, December 27

Season Rationale -

  • The first split provides early season hunting for local birds and early migrants.
  • A break of more than two weeks between split seasons allows disturbed ducks to return to normal movement patterns and newly arriving birds to settle in.
  • Capitalizes on peak migration period of mid-November.
  • December hunting days are set to coincide with a later wave of duck migration and concentration of wintering birds.
  • Maximizes weekend and holiday opportunity.

Youth Season Dates:

Saturday, September 19 - Sunday, September 20

Season Rationale -

  • Allows time between the youth hunt and the regular duck season opening for disturbed ducks to return to normal movement patterns.
  • Sept. goose season is open allowing for some adult mentor opportunity.
  • Avoids the youth deer and pheasant season dates.

Canada Goose Season Dates:

East Central Area

Saturday, October 24 - Friday, November 20
Saturday, November 28 - Saturday, December 19

Season Rationale -

  • Opens as early as possible.
  • Closed for the first week of deer gun season.

Hudson Valley Area

Saturday, October 31 - Sunday, November 15
Saturday, November 28 - Thursday, December 31

Season Rationale -

  • Open late fall and early winter when most geese are available.
  • Closed for deer gun season when access to fields is difficult.

Southern Zone

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, December 20
Saturday, December 26 - Sunday, January 10
Saturday, March 5 - Thursday, March 10

Season Rationale -

  • Maximizes days in November and December during peak migration.

Long Island Zone

Regular Duck Season Dates:

Thursday, November 26 - Sunday, November 29
Monday, December 7th - Sunday, January 31


Season Rationale -

  • Allows for the traditional Thanksgiving weekend split.
  • Allows for long "late and straight" second split.

Youth Season Dates:

Saturday, November 14 - Sunday, November 15

Season Rationale -

  • Avoids Southern Zone Deer season opening dates.
  • Allows mentors to participate in both the deer season and youth hunt on Long Island.

Canada Goose Season Dates

Western Long Island Zone

Saturday, October 10 - Sunday, October 25
Thursday, November 26 - Sunday, November 29
Monday, December 7 - Wednesday, March 2


Season Rationale -

  • Maximizes early opportunity during October.
  • Allows for the traditional Thanksgiving weekend split concurrent with Duck season for tradition.
  • Allows for complete overlap of the duck season.

Central Long Island Zone

Thursday, November 26 - Sunday, November 29
Monday, December 7 - Wednesday, February 10

Season Rationale -

  • Allows for complete overlap with regular duck season.
  • Avoid confusion by being open when regular duck season is closed.

Eastern Long Island Zone

Thursday, November 26 - Tuesday, February 2

Season Rationale -

  • Season opens on the same day as the regular duck season.
  • Dates caters to most hunters.

Brant Season Dates:

Thursday, November 26 - Sunday, November 29
Sunday, January 6 - Sunday, January 31

Season Rationale -

  • Keeps season the same as the early Regular Duck Season split.
  • A "late and straight" season maximizes the number of days through the end of the season/federal framework.

Sea Duck Season Dates:

Saturday, October 17 - Sunday, January 31

Season Rationale -

  • Keeps season the same as last year.
  • Maximizes the number of hunting days later into the winter.