The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Mississippi Flyway Council have requested that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) increase the September early wood duck and real hunting season daily bag limit from four to six (no more than two wood ducks) and also allow the addition of teal-only hunting days to this season.
The request is being made in response to the high blue-winged teal populations and similar recent expansions in states with September teal-only hunting seasons.
The TWRA staff has worked for months with the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways and the USFWS to bring this request forward. The request is based on biological information in a 2013 report made available to the flyway councils. Allowing these increases would require a policy change by the USFWS. The USFWS has expressed support for other policy changes that liberalize teal harvest and specifically support new teal seasons in states without such seasons. These would be experimental seasons.
The full text of the Federal Register outlining this and other related issues can be seen by visiting http://www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/opendocs.cfm and scroll down to “Proposed Rules: Migratory Bird Hunting Supplemental Proposals for 2014-15 Hunting Seasons” and see Section 1. Ducks, D. Special Seasons/Species Management, ii., September Teal/Wood Duck Seasons.
The public may submit comments to the USFWS on this issue by June 27 by one of the following methods:
· Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for “Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017” and follow the instructions for submitting on-line comments.
· U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, Va. 22203.
The TWRA anticipates a response from the USFWS in July to this request and the public input received.