Youth Waterfowl and regular season Canada goose hunts set to open in September

MADISON Regular season Canada goose hunting in the Exterior and Horicon zones opens Friday, Sept. 16, followed by a two-day Youth Waterfowl Hunt Sept. 17-18.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

This year’s Youth Waterfowl hunt will be held Sept. 17-18. This special hunt provides an opportunity for hunters ages 12-15 (or those 10 or over hunting under the mentored hunting law) to learn skills from an adult without increased hunting pressure typically found during the regular season.

“The youth hunt gives nearly 3,500 kids annually a chance to experience this special hunt due to the generosity of a friend or family member.” said Taylor Finger, DNR assistant migratory game bird ecologist.

Normal season bag limits apply, but all license and stamp requirements are waived for the youth hunt. However, participants still need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and possess a regular season goose permit for the appropriate zone if they wish to hunt geese during this time. Licensed adults may also hunt geese, since the Exterior and Horicon Zone goose seasons are open during these dates.

Individuals of all ages and skill levels are reminded to check out a Learn to Hunt waterfowl clinic to learn more about hunting and its role within conservation.

Regular Goose season

With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and average production of Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities during the regular goose season. In 2016, hunters will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior zone with a two bird daily bag limit.

“When combined with the 15 days of the early season, this puts WI at 107 days of Canada goose hunting, and the maximum season length allowed by federal law,” said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources assistant migratory game bird ecologist Taylor Finger.

Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

  • Northern Zone – Sept. 16 to Dec. 16;
  • Southern Zone – Sept. 16 to Oct. 9 and Oct. 15 to Dec. 21; and
  • Mississippi River Subzone – Oct. 1-7 and Oct. 15 to Jan. 5, 2017.

Hunters are reminded that the goose season is closed during the duck season split in both the South Zone (closed Oct. 10-14) and Mississippi River Subzone (closed Oct. 8-14).

New in 2016, the Horicon Zone Canada goose season structure has been combined into one period:

  • H1 – Sept. 16 – Dec. 16

The daily bag limit for Canada geese in the Horicon Zone remains at two. In 2014, the season harvest limit in this zone was increased to 12 total Canada geese. It is important to remember that locations west of Hwy 73 and north of Hwy 23 are no longer part of the Horicon Zone, but rather part of the Exterior Zone.

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords “waterfowl management.”

2016 Wisconsin Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast now available

Many fall hunting and trapping seasons in Wisconsin are just around the corner, and the 2016 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast [PDF] is now available.

To view this year’s hunting and trapping forecast, visit and search keywords “forecast [PDF]” or “hunt.”

Go Wild

With the transition to Go Wild, the Canada goose harvest registration phone number is now consistent with all other species registered in Wisconsin – this new system also provides for online registration. Hunters can now register online at or via phone at 844-426-3734 (844 GAME-REG).

In addition, Early, Exterior and Horicon Zone goose permits are now printed on regular white paper, rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their Canada goose harvest permit – department staff encourage hunters to carry these permits in a plastic bag to shield it from any adverse weather conditions.

For more information regarding Go Wild, visit [EXIT DNR].

Avian Influenza

Several federal agencies are working in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to collect samples related to the research and surveillance of avian influenza in wild birds. This surveillance will help monitor for the virus during fall migration. Wild birds from targeted areas throughout the state will be sampled between now and spring 2017.

Avian influenza is a viral disease common in wild bird populations with many different subtypes – most do not cause obvious signs of disease in wild birds or have the ability to infect animals other than birds. While strains currently detected in the U.S. have caused mortality of domestic birds, they have not resulted in any illness in humans.

Samples will be collected from live-captured birds during DNR banding efforts and from hunter-harvested dabbling ducks, such as blue-winged teal, mallard, wood duck and Northern pintail. Federal staff will alsobe located at boat landings and other hunter access points this fall to sample ducks from willing hunters.

To learn more, search keywords “bird diseases.”