New waterfowl season dates proposed

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New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:26 pm

Hi all, hope this finds everyone well and safe.

The AZGFD is recommending the AZGF Commission approve new opening and closing dates for the 2020-21 Desert Zone Waterfowl season. The start date would be pushed back to the 4th Friday of Oct.(Oct 23 this year) and closing the season on Jan. 31. This season that means an extra week during peak migration as compared to the past traditional closing on the fourth Sunday in Jan. The other change proposed is a reduction of the scaup daily bag limit from 3 to 2. Pintail dbl would remain at 1. Here's the link to the hunt recommendations that will be considered by the Commission at their Apr 17th meeting. Just scroll down to Commission Order 21 Waterfowl.

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/azgf ... easons.pdf
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azducknquail » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:50 pm

Awesome, thanks Joe! I'm in favor.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Thu May 28, 2020 2:48 pm

Here's an update on the 2020/21 waterfowl season. On April 17th the Commission approved the AZGFD hunt season structure recommendation. The major change will be to the season dates for the Desert Zone. The season will start on Oct. 23 and end on Jan. 31. The DZ Youth hunt will be Feb.6-7, 2021.

The Commission requested that Jonathan O'Dell, the small game biologist for the Dept. continue to look into and follow a new bag limit proposal that has surfaced in several states. The proposal is what is referred to as a "splash limit". In a nutshell it would establish a 3 duck per day bag limit of any duck species without regard to restricted bag limits currently in force, i.e. you would be allowed to take 3 pintail, scaup, redhead, canvasback, hen mallard of "Mexican" duck or any combination thereof. Other states, if approved by USFWS, would set up a two tier license system where a hunter would choose before the season which bag limit structure they wanted to follow for the entire season either the normal 7 duck limit with species specific limits within the 7 bird limit or the 3 duck "splash limit". They are looking into this as a way to recruit more hunters or encourage those who have quit and stated the reason they quit was the difficulty in identifying the different duck species.

You can listen to Jonathan's proposal on the audio feed from the Commission meeting beginning at the 38:30 mark. Here's the link.

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/azgf ... ng-WEB.mp3
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby MOB40 » Fri May 29, 2020 12:25 pm

WHY COMPLICATE THINGS
John Manuel ProStaff for Precision Duck & Goose Calls

https://www.facebook.com/Azduckmensunio ... e=bookmark
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby BusterAZ » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:59 am

Thanks for sharing this information! After looking into the splash limits more, I wouldn’t personally elect that option, but won’t be opposed to it for other people, so long as a 6-7 bird limit was still an option. Would this mean that they would be done with the day after 3 coots?
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azducknquail » Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:07 pm

Not a fan of the splash limit here - I hate to say it, but people who are quitting after "years of waterfowl hunting" because they can't identify birds on the wing might have other personal issues they need to deal with.

I don't find the splash limit to be very biological-based, from a management standpoint. We are one of the few states where we can shoot 7 green head mallards a day, and i'd hate to see that go away.

Edit*** I told my wife about the splash limit and people quitting duck hunting because they can't ID ducks, and she just laughed. Coming from a non-hunter, even she can ID birds on the wing when we are out walking the dogs.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby BusterAZ » Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:37 pm

The idea of a splash limit is fairly new to me and I was looking at some other literature on the subject. From my understanding, the primary reason for allowing this type of limit is to make it easier for new waterfowl hunters to start in the sport. I guess one of most surveyed responses to why other hunters didn’t hunt ducks was they didn’t feel confident in species ID. Here’s a news article explaining more

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/a ... utType=amp
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:19 am

I'm gonna age myself here but to me part of becoming a duck hunter is learning to ID what you're shooting at. When I started duck hunting the point system limit was still used. Duck species and genders where assigned a point value and when the ducks you shot equaled 100 points or the last duck you killed put you just over 100 points you where done for the day. Drake mallards where worth 25 points, a hen mallard was worth 100 points. Wigeon and teal were 10 points each IIRC. Don't recall what pintails were worth, there weren't many in Florida back in the 70's. The point was you had to learn to ID what you were shooting at or your hunt could be over with the first shot if you killed a hen mallard.

Some hunters today still can't ID what duck they have in their hand let only on the wing. A case in point was a hunt I was on with a friend a few years back at San Carlos. He was new to the sport and I was trying to teach him. He downed a duck that landed across the river from our blind, an impossible retrieve due to the speed of the current and the depth of the water. I know because we tried. We were both sick at the thought of an unretrievable bird. A short while later two guys in a canoe come down the river and we asked if they would retrieve the duck for us. They said sure and we guided them to the bird. The guy in the front picks it up and my friend asks what kind of duck it was and the guy tells him "it's a hen mallard". It was a hen wigeon not a mallard. Two different birds in both coloration and size that should not easily be confused. We asked them how they did and they said they "tore up the mallards".

Personally I would not use a "splash" limit if one were enacted. Not sure how I feel about the concept as an effort to bring more people into the sport but I still believe if you are going to kill an animal you better be able to ID it before you pull the trigger.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby BusterAZ » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:54 am

Recruiting new hunters will only get harder as society progresses further into the 21st Century. I was required to pass a waterfowl ID course before I could access refuges in the Northeast. Nowadays. this would likely be another barrier to newcomers who want to hunt in this state. I can appreciate the out of box thinking that is being requested and the splash limit is just a proposal, but I don’t see how more folks will enter the sport, unless ethical waterfowlers start mentoring more people. And I don’t mean family and friends, but guys at work that didn’t come form hunting families or some other non traditional means!
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:39 pm

You're right Buster, the farther society "progresses" the more urbanized it becomes and less connected to the natural world. There was a thread in the Small Game hunting forum over on Shotgun World that asked the question "Are we a dying breed"? There were several answers posted with a myriad of reasons for the decline in the numbers of hunters going afield every year. Complicated regulations was a major reason but so was the lack of recruitment of new hunters. Not sure how we can make game laws and regulations less complicated, although the splash limit may be one way, but I believe every sportsman or woman should try to mentor at least one or two new people into our ranks, family and friends being a good place to start. Otherwise we will continue the decline in our numbers until hunting becomes a thing of the past and funding for wildlife conservation ceases to exist.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azducknquail » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:57 am

Joe - I think that is very well said. Its a balance between preserving the culture and tradition (I think IDing birds on the wing plays into this) and also preserving the sport of hunting through new hunter recruitment. I've had great experiences taking new hunters/young kids out hunting for their first experiences, and I've also been burned bad by taking hunters out to my spots and having them show back up, unannounced. I think its on us, as experienced hunters (and hopefully ethical, too) to teach the new generations, whether we want to or not, otherwise we are essentially turning a blind eye to all those "duck dynasty" sky blasters that frustrate us so much.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:40 am

It's my personal opinion that one of the worst things to happen to waterfowl hunting was the TV show Duck Dynasty along with some of the other waterfowl hunting shows. Did it bring more people and money into the sport? Yes it did but I think some of those people thought that with a $1200 shotgun, $400 in duck calls, $1000 worth of decoys and a $10,000-$20,000 boat they could become Phil, Jase or Willy Robertson or any of the other guys on TV without having a real clue what it takes to become a seasoned and ethical waterfowl hunter. I also think a lot quit when they realized how much hard work it takes to be successful at this sport. You can't buy experience with money and it doesn't come overnight. We all know the hours, days, and weeks we put in just getting ready for the season let alone during it. No amount of money can buy that, it takes blood, sweat and sometimes tears. I've been pursuing waterfowl every season since the early 80's, except for a brief hiatus while the ammo manufactures figured out how to make steel shot work, and there hasn't been a season or a hunt where I didn't learn something new about the birds, their habits or their habitat and I've learned more by failure than success. I've got more seasons behind me than in front of me but I plan to kept going as long as I'm able to wade into a marsh or walk to a blind and I'm more than willing to share what I've learned along the way with anyone. Trust me I'm no expert at this and the learning curve for me is measured in years but I'll gladly pass on what I have learned. My hope is that for you younger guys and girls out there you will have as many seasons to look forward to as I have to look back on.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby Dave in AZ » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:11 am

Good info, fun thread! Joe, That wigeon mallard story sounds familiar lol! I forgot about that.

Great news about the new season dates, I'd much rather have another week at the end of January then a worthless week in mid October.

That bag limit thing wouldn't be a bad deal if you could choose what to do on any given day.

Some of the most fun I've had duck hunting was doing the mentor thing with not just my boys but also down at Cibola with the game and fish youth hunts. Probably my favorite hunt I've ever had in my life was with Joe and my son James on one of his first Duck Hunts, and he got a bag limit of seven with a good mix of wigeon pintail mallard teal and Gadwall.

Hey I just thought of something! I've had a hard time getting my boys to go hunting in their high school years because they're so busy with sports and band and whatnot. But this year there won't be any sports or band, which sucks for the kids, but it just occurred to me that this may be a great opportunity for me to get them out in the Duck Blind with me again.

Looking forward to this year's season and getting out there with both of you Joe and Colin! I've taken some of this free time from work this month to do a bunch of 410 and 28 gauge heavyweight 15 loads, so want to get some decent testing in this year and a lot of good eating!
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azdukhuntr » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:20 am

Dave it's always been an honor and privilege to share a blind with you and your boys. I still have pictures from that day and James' smile is wider than the horizon. I would love to get out with you and the boys again this season. I can't imagine how much they've grown since the last time I saw them.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby azducknquail » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:47 pm

Dave I was thinking about you - went out to my local spot to shoot some pigeons, and my buddy brought his .410 22' barrel shotgun. Man is that think fun to shoot! It was also very deadly on the decoying pigeons, despite only throwing 3/4 oz of lead.
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Re: New waterfowl season dates proposed

Postby Dave in AZ » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:25 pm

Half ounce usually, 3/4oz is a beast 410 load! ;)
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