JEFFERSON CITY – Approval of early season hunting regulations and a change to the federal framework for migratory game birds by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) means Missouri hunters will have a 16-day early teal season and larger limits on most early migratory birds.
The FWS action gives the green light to the following early migratory bird seasons and limits, which were approved by the Missouri Conservation Commission in May.
Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9, daily limit 15 in the aggregate, possession limit 45.
Blue-winged teal (BWT), green-winged teal, and cinnamon teal: Sept. 7 through 22, daily limit six in the aggregate, possession limit 18.
American woodcock: Oct. 15 through Nov. 28, daily limit three, possession limit nine.
Wilson’s (common) snipe: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16, daily limit eight, possession limit 24.
Sora and Virginia rails: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9, daily and possession limit 25 in the aggregate.
Missouri’s 2013 early migratory bird hunting regulations increase possession limits from two to three times the daily limit for all species except rails. The possession limit for rails remains 25. This year’s daily limit for teal represents a two-bird increase from past years.
Conservation Department Resource Scientist Doreen Mengel says state and federal waterfowl biologists approved the changes after careful consideration and analysis of possible effects on migratory bird populations.
“We are confident that the increased daily limit for teal and larger possession limits for most other species will not have an adverse effect on bird numbers,” says Mengel. “Weather and habitat conditions are the most important limiting factors on these species’ nesting success. Hunter harvest at these levels should replace annual losses to natural causes for the most part, rather than adding to them.”