15 Doves, 3 Wood Ducks A Day?

Increases to the daily bag limits for doves and wood ducks in Georgia are being considered.

Hope the birds are flying on opening day. Getting your limit of fast-flying doves may be even more of a challenge this year.

A good wood-duck hole could be a lot more fun this winter, too. How does three woodies heading home for the oven taste?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has already approved a framework that allows states to increase the dove limit to 15 while keeping a 70-day season. The feds are considering allowing a limit of three wood ducks per day. Currently, the limits are 12 doves a day and two wood ducks per day.

Mourning doves and wood ducks are migratory, so hunting seasons and bag limits are set within frameworks provided by the USFWS.

Past frameworks for doves allowed two options, the 70-day, 12-dove limit season that Georgia has used, or a 60-day, 15-dove limit. Scientific studies the past several years have shown that there is no significant harvest difference between the two frameworks.

Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) is recommending that the state regulation be changed to reflect the new federal framework for dove limits — a 15-bird limit along with the current 70-day season.

A decision will be made at the Board of Natural Resources meeting Aug. 27. If approved by the DNR Board, a 15-bird-a-day limit will take effect in time for the 2008 Georgia dove-hunting season, which opens Sept. 6.

The 2008-09 season dates are Sept. 6-21, Oct. 11-19 and Nov. 27, 2008 – Jan. 10, 2009. Opening day hunting is from noon to sunset on Sept. 6, while hours for all other season days are a half an hour before sunrise to a half an hour after sunset.

Meanwhile, a Georgia WRD release said the USFWS Service Regulations Committee may also consider changes in the federal framework to provide a three-duck bag limit for wood ducks for an experimental three-year season. This decision is expected by early August. Should this be approved, WRD also will propose a regulation at the Aug. 27 DNR Board meeting to allow for a three-duck daily limit for wood ducks.

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