Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 1, 2013

OUTDOOR COLUMN: Waterfowl season looks to be promising

By LOUIE STOUT
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — Indiana’s waterfowl season dates and bag limits have been announced and prospects for a good season are looking favorable.

Hoosier biologist Adam Phelps says most duck populations remain high so waterfowlers can expect a season much like last year.

So much of it depends upon the weather – if we are wet in the fall without freezing during that period when cold weather in northern states pushes the birds our direction.

Indiana’s proposed duck and goose seasons are pretty close to what they were last year, but await confirmation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a couple of weeks.

In the northern zone, duck season would run Oct. 19-Dec. 8 and again Dec. 21-29. Canada, white-fronted and brant geese dates are Oct. 19-Nov. 10, Nov. 28 to Jan. 5 and Jan. 18-29.

The daily bag limit for ducks in all zones is six, including no more than four mallards (of which no more than two can be hens), three scaup, three wood ducks, two pintails, two redheads, two canvasbacks (up from one last year), one black duck, and one mottled duck. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers, separate from ducks, is five, of which no more than two can be hooded mergansers. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

The daily bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is three. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is two.

The proposed late season for hunting Canada geese is Feb. 1–15. The counties open during the late season are: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, DeKalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaPorte, LaGrange, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, St. Joseph, Shelby, Steuben, Starke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells and Whitley.   

“Mallards are down slightly but breeding populations in the north remain among the top-five all-time records,” he said.

Phelps noted that teal numbers are up and quite a few birds are already filtering into Indiana, just in time for the early teal season that opens Sept. 7. It runs through Sept. 22 with a six-bird bag limit, up from four birds last year.

Other migratory seasons of interest to northern Indiana hunters that open today include goose (Sept. 1-5, five birds), doves (Sept. 1-Oct. 13 and Nov. 8-Dec.4, 15 bird bag limit).

Phelps said migratory goose numbers appear to be up as well. The Mississippi Valley and southern James Bay populations had very favorable breeding conditions this spring and should enhance the fall hunt period.

About the only noticeable decline    has been in scaup, which is why the bag limit has dropped from four to three.

He’s uncertain about wood ducks, saying they are more difficult to count during the spring.

“Some of the (Indiana) goose and duck nests got flooded out this spring but some re-nested,” he said. “We’ll just have to see.”

Indiana, like most other states, has increased its possession limit on migratory birds from two to three.

DU banquet

The St. Joseph Valley Ducks Unlimited Chapter will conduct its fund-raiser banquet Sept. 13 at the Windsor Park Conference Center in Mishawaka.

The event begins at 5:30. Tickets are $65 a couple, $40 for singles and $25 for youths 12 and under.

The price includes dinner, door prizes, a silent auction and a live auction.

Hoosier Pro results

Dan Milligan (Bremen) and Kris Shipley (Syracuse) won ($240) in the Hoosier Pro event on Dewart Lake last weekend with 14.34 pounds.

The winners also won the big bass pot ($60) with a 4.36-pound largemouth. Second place ($166) went to Jim Harness (Lucerne, Ind.) and Dave Lautt (Leiters Ford, Ind.) with 9.66 pounds while Mike and Kyle Sass (Winamac) were third ($96) with four fish weighing 8.45 pounds.

The next event will be Sept. 7 at Lake Maxinkuckee. For more information, call Mitch Hayes, 219-716-4808.

Boating classes

The South Bend Power Squadron will conduct boating classes this fall at the Battell Center in Mishawaka.

An ABC Class for beginners will be held Sept. 9 through Oct. 14; a Sail Class Sept. 12-Dec. 3; and Seamanship Sept. 11-Nov. 13.

For more information on the classes, call 574-273-4078 or email amccollester@gmail.com.

MWA 7th at Cabelas

Mike Rhoades (South Bend) and Randy Gaines (Wellsville, O.) finished seventh in the Cabelas National Team Championship walleye tournament at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. recently.

The duo was representing the Michiana Walleye Association along with three other teams that consisting of Rob and Zoe Burns (Osceola); Shawn Kintigh (Goshen) and Doug Burkhead (Osceola); and Scott Peeler (Elkhart) and Donnie Shelton (Berrien Center, Mich.).

There were 225 teams in the event.

Rhoades and Gaines caught 45 pounds, 8 ounces of walleye in three days. They pitched weedless jigs to shallow weed beds.

Contact Goshen News outdoor writer Louie Stout at stoutoutdoors@comcast.net.