Special early duck season opens Saturday
Friday, September 24, 2010
Media contact: Stan Kirkland, 850-265-3676
Florida waterfowl hunters take note. The
special early duck season for wood ducks and teal is Sept.
The bag limit is four ducks per day, but only two
of the birds can be wood ducks. The bag limits apply for the
early season only.
Few waterfowl hunters may be aware how this early,
five-day season came to be. According to Joe Benedict,
Waterfowl Management Program Coordinator for the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), biologists from the
then-Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission's Division of
Wildlife took blood samples from hundreds of wood ducks in the
1980s to demonstrate that wood ducks found in Florida in September
are birds raised in the South and not migrating northern birds.
Biologists knew that northern-raised wood ducks,
particularly those from the northeastern states, have blood
parasites not usually seen in southern wood ducks.
"Staff biologists were able to demonstrate to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shooting Florida wood ducks
during the early season did not impact female survival rates and,
as a result, was not likely to impact our resident wood duck
population," Benedict said. "So the five-day, early season
Hunters must use steel shot or other federally
approved nontoxic shot during the special early duck season and the
later fall season.