2010 11 waterfowl public meeting

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2010-11 Waterfowl Public Meeting Presentation

2010-11 Waterfowl Public Meeting Presentation

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  • We have not received the frameworks for the early season migratory bird seasons yet. At this time we do not anticipate any changes in the frameworks that we will be given. For the September teal season, there are typically two possible frameworks: a 9 day season or a 16 day season. Once the frameworks are received from the USFWS for the early season regulations, the Commission will approve our season dates at the July Commission meeting.
  • Once we receive the late season regulation frameworks from the USFWS in July, the Commission will approve the season dates and structure at the August Commission meeting.
  • State wildlife agencies must set their migratory bird hunting seasons within the frameworks provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. States can be more restrictive than the frameworks handed down by the USFWS but they can not be more liberal. The adaptive harvest management matrix is used by the USFWS to determine the framework for waterfowl seasons by flyways. This matrix is based on both the estimate of the number of May ponds on the Canadian breeding grounds during the nesting season and the estimated breeding population of ducks entering the nesting season. This measure of habitat conditions and the number of breeding pairs is used a predictor for the number of ducks that will be in the fall population. This matrix is used to determine if a flyway will have a closed, restrictive (30 day), moderate (45 day) or liberal (60 day) season framework. This is not this year’s matrix, just an example.
  • The top left figure is from last spring. The bottom left is over-winter water conditions. The big figure is current through May 10. It’s interesting to note that as spring migration started conditions looked pretty dry but spring rains have turned the situation around dramatically. As usual moisture conditions on the Canadian portion of the Prairie Pothole Region are variable this spring with good to excellent moisture in much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and fair to good conditions in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba.
  • Once again much of the U.S. portion of the Prairie Pothole Region is wet this spring. Habitat conditions are not quite as good as last year but are still doing well.
  • The resident Canada goose population appears to continue to grow and additional harvest opportunity is desired to help slow population growth. We recently expanded the September season statewide and the season appears to have been popular with hunters. A longer statewide regular season would allow additional hunting opportunity during a time of year when more waterfowl hunters are in the field. This might result in an elimination of the late September/early October season in Northwest Arkansas but maintain the benefits of the September special early season (increased daily bag limit and ability to hunt geese before other hunting drives geese out of areas open to hunting). We asked about this at the public meetings last year and response was overwhelmingly positive so this is just a reminder, not a question for comment. Because of other changes with goose management in the Flyway I did not take this proposal to the Flyway last year. I will this July and Flyway response will determine whether or not we keep the October northwest season.
  • We received little negative feedback about the slight change in the season split arrangement in the past few years. The splits in 2008-09 were shorter than the previous two years and helped address some of the concerns about the season being closed during the holidays when people are off work and students are out of school. This basic season seems to work out well and we propose to keep this season structure in place for a few years.
  • This figure highlights the challenge in setting duck season dates. Notice that nearly every week had greater than 5% preference, with several at or over 10%. Obviously, duck hunters’ opinions regarding the best week to hunt vary widely. The last week of December and all weeks of January appear to be very popular. This is just some of the information used when discussing duck season dates. The first proposed option has dates that make the season open to include most preferred weeks that sum to 75% and 67% of hunters in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The second option includes 80% in 2008 and 76% in 2010.
  • This slide does not suggest a strong preference for any one week to have a season split but does clearly indicate hunters do not want the season to close in January. Each of the options offer a closure during the first week of December, while the first is closed the 4 th week of November and the second is closed the 3 rd week of November (i.e., it opens later). No closures are proposed in the 3 rd or 4 th week of December. This was done in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and was not received well because the season was closed when students were out of school. Both options include a two-day Christmas closure and this may be what respondents meant when they said they preferred a late-December closure. Finally, note that the most popular option is “no preference” which makes sense because most years the season is set and people go hunting when it’s open and don’t when it’s closed and are happy to do so.
  • These are a two options for duck season dates. The first proposed option has dates that make the season open to include most preferred weeks that sum to 75% and 67% of hunters in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The second option includes 80% in 2008 and 76% in 2010.

Transcript

  • 1. 2010-11 Waterfowl Public Meetings
  • 2.
    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases the early season framework in June.
    • Arkansas then chooses its season dates and bag limits from within this framework. We can be more restrictive with our regulations, but not less restrictive than the federal framework.
    • Comments about Arkansas Early Season Migratory Bird Regulations should be sent to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission by July 1 every year.
    Early Season Regulations Process Dove, Rail, Woodcock and Teal
  • 3.
    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases the late season framework in July.
    • Arkansas then chooses its season dates and bag limits from within this framework. We can be more restrictive with our regulations, but not less restrictive than the federal framework.
    • Comments about Arkansas Late Season Waterfowl Regulations should be sent to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission by July 31 every year.
    Late Season Regulations Process Ducks and Geese
  • 4. Regulations Process Important Dates
    • Mid-June - preliminary early season regulations released
    • Comments on early season regulations are due to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission by July 1.
    • Mid-July - early season regulations are finalized
    • Mid-July - preliminary late season regulations released
    • Comments on late season regulations are due to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission by July 31.
    • Mid-August - Late season regulations are finalized
  • 5.
    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the responsibility and authority to establish annual hunting seasons for migratory birds in the United States under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
    Establishment of Waterfowl Seasons
  • 6. Breeding Habitat Conditions in the Canadian Prairies 2009 2009-10 Winter 2010 Current
  • 7. Breeding Habitat Conditions in the U.S. Prairies
  • 8. Canada Goose Season Reminder from 2009
    • Expand regular Canada goose season to 72 days.
    • - from 50 to 72 days in northwest
    • - from 40 to 72 days in remainder of state
    • Season would be concurrent with white-fronted goose season
    • May eliminate late September/early October season in northwest Canada goose zone.
  • 9. Issues for Public Comment
    • Duck season dates
    • 4:00 am WMA entry regulation
  • 10. Duck Season Structure and Dates
      • Expect 60-day duck season for the 2010-11 season.
      • Can have no more than three segments and two splits.
      • January 30, 2011 last day of duck season framework.
      • Youth hunt can be two consecutive days before opening day, within a duck season split, or after the last day of duck season.
  • 11. Duck Season Structure and Dates
  • 12. Duck Season Structure and Dates
  • 13. Duck Season Dates Options November 20 (Sat) – November 28 (Sun) December 9 (Thur) – December 23 (Wed) December 26 (Sun) – January 30 (Sun) Youth Hunt: December 4 (Sat) and 5 (Sun) November 25 (Thur) – December 5 (Sun) December 11 (Sat) – December 23 (Wed) December 26 (Sun) – January 30 (Sun) Youth Hunt: February 5 (Sat) and 6 (Sun)
  • 14.
    • Written comments regarding waterfowl regulations should be submitted at one of the 13 public meetings on June 2 or mailed to:
      • AGFC
      • Attn: Waterfowl Comments
      • 2 Natural Resources Drive
      • Little Rock, AR 72205
    • E-mail comments should be sent to [email_address]
    Public Comments due July 31