You can shoot 25 snow geese a day!

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 You can shoot 25 snow geese a day! That’s one of the most surprising things about the proposed new rules governing hunting of migratory birds in Maine in 2017, just issued by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

A public hearing on all of these rules is scheduled for Monday, March 13, at 6 pm in Room 209B at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Avenue, Augusta. Written comments may be submitted until March 23.

These rules govern everything from duck to woodcock to crows and include youth day rules and special falconry hunting rules. Yes, there’s something for everyone here!

Here they are, just as they were emailed to me by the agency.

AGENCY: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE: Chapter 4.02 (Migratory Bird Hunting) PROPOSED RULE NUMBER (leave blank; assigned by Secretary of State): CONTACT PERSON FOR THIS FILING: Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, 41 State House Station, 284 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333; Tel: 207-287-5202; becky.orff@maine.gov CONTACT PERSON FOR SMALL BUSINESS INFORMATION (if different): PUBLIC HEARING (if any): Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 6:00 p.m. - Augusta Armory, Room 209B, 179 Western Avenue, Augusta COMMENT DEADLINE: March 23, 2017

BRIEF SUMMARY: The Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has scheduled a public hearing to consider the adoption of rules pertaining to season dates, bag limits and shooting hours for the hunting of ducks, geese and other migratory game birds. The proposed rule will protect migratory game birds from over-harvest by setting these limitations. In particular, the Department is proposing, in accordance with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations, to increase the daily bag limit on black ducks from 1 to 2, decrease the bag limit for pintail ducks from 2 to 1 and split the duck hunting season in the northern hunting zone to allow for later hunting opportunity. Special regulations will apply to youth waterfowl hunt days. Please contact the agency rulemaking contact person for a complete copy of the proposed rule.

IMPACT ON MUNICIPALITIES OR COUNTIES (if any): No fiscal impact is anticipated. STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THIS RULE: 12 MRSA, Sections 10104 and 11855 SUBSTANTIVE STATE OR FEDERAL LAW BEING IMPLEMENTED (if different): E-MAIL FOR OVERALL AGENCY RULE-MAKING LIAISON: Becky.Orff@maine.gov * Check one of the following two boxes. X The above summary is for use in both the newspaper and website notices. □The above summary is for the newspaper notice only. A more detailed summary / basis statement is attached.

DATE AND PLACE OF PUBLIC HEARING: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 6:00 p.m. - Augusta Armory, Room 209B, 179 Western Avenue, Augusta COMMENT DEADLINE: March 23, 2017 PRINCIPAL REASON OR PURPOSE FOR PROPOSING THIS RULE: To implement the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act which establishes the general guidelines within which the States are permitted to regulate the hunting of migratory game birds. This rule will protect migratory game birds from over-harvest by setting these limitations. Proposed adjustments to the migratory bird hunting seasons are based on a collaborative effort to collect and analyze data by the USFWS and state agencies.

ANALYSIS AND EXPECTED OPERATION OF THE RULE: This rule implements Maine’s 2017/18 migratory bird hunting seasons by selecting season dates, bag limits and shooting hours for ducks, coots, mergansers, geese, crows and woodcock. In particular, this proposal will increase the daily bag limit on black ducks from 1 to 2, decrease the bag limit for pintail ducks from 2 to 1, and split the duck hunting season in the northern hunting zone to allow for later hunting opportunity. The adjustments to bag limits are in response to updated population estimates and evaluation of harvest data, while the change in hunting season dates in the northern zone will allow duck hunters to pursue late season migrant ducks that arrive in Maine after the traditional closure of the season.

REPEAL AND REPLACE CHAPTER 4.02 (B) (H) and (I) AS FOLLOWS: 4.02 Migratory Birds B. Seasons, Daily Bag Limits, Possession Limits and Shooting Hours for Migratory Game Bird 1. Webless Migratory Birds SPECIES OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT

Woodcock Oct. 2 –Oct. 28 Oct. 30 – Nov. 16 3 9

Common (Wilson’s) Snipe Sept. 1-Dec. 16 8 24

Rails (Sora and Virginia) Sept. 1-Nov. 9 25 25 (singly or in the aggregate) (singly or in the aggregate)

Gallinules (Common Moorhens) Closed Season 2.

Sea Ducks SPECIES OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT Scoters, Eiders, Nov. 10- Jan. 18 5 15 Long-tailed ducks (not to include more than (not to include more than (in the Sea Duck Hunting Area) 4 scoters, 4 eiders 12 scoters, 12 eiders or or 4 long-tailed ducks) 12 long-tailed ducks) (singly or in aggregate) 3. Ducks (including Black Ducks, Scaup, Pintails, Mergansers, and American coots)

OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT North Zone Sept. 27 - Nov. 25 6 18 Dec. 8 – Dec. 16 (no more than 4 of (no more than 12 of any one species*) any one species*) South Zone Oct. 2 – Oct. 14 6 18 Nov. 1 – Dec. 26 (no more than 4 of (no more than 12 of any one species*) any one species*) Coastal Zone Oct 2 – Oct. 14 6 18 Nov. 10 - Jan. 4 (no more than 4 of (no more than 12 of any one species*) any one species*) *EXCEPT AS NOTED BELOW*

4. Brant North Zone: Sept. 27 – Nov. 25 2 6 Dec. 8 – Dec. 16 South Zone: Oct. 2 – Oct. 14 2 6 Nov. 1 – Dec. 26 2 6 Coastal Zone: Oct. 2 – Oct. 14 2 6 Nov. 10 – Jan. 4 2 6 5. Crows 2017 Season Dates Wildlife Management Districts 1-6: Feb. 4 – Apr. 15 August 1 – Sept. 22 Wildlife Management Districts 7-29: Jan. 20 – March 31 August 1 – Sept. 22 No daily bag or possession limit. 2018 Season Dates Wildlife Management Districts 1-6: Feb. 3 – Apr. 14 August 1 – Sept. 22 Wildlife Management Districts 7-29: Jan. 20 – March 31 August 1 – Sept. 22 No daily bag or possession limit.

6. Geese SPECIES OPEN SEASON DAILY LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT Canada Geese (Early Season) (NORTH) Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 6 18 (SOUTH) Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 10 30 (COASTAL) Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 10 30 (Regular Season) (NORTH) Oct. 2 – Dec. 21 3 9 (SOUTH) Oct. 2 – Oct. 26 3 9 Nov. 1 – Dec. 26 3 9 (COASTAL) Oct. 2 – Oct. 26 3 9 Nov. 10 – Jan. 4 3 9 Snow Geese Oct. 2 - Jan. 31 25 No Possession Limit (incl. blue geese)

*EXCEPTIONS*: American Coots: It is unlawful to take more than 5 American coots in any one day or possess more than 15 American coots at any time.

Mergansers: Hunters may take 5 mergansers in addition to the limits on other regular ducks, however only 2 may be a hooded merganser. The possession limit on mergansers is 15 at any time; however it is unlawful to possess more than 6 hooded mergansers at any time. Daily limit: 2; possession limit: 6; for black ducks, hen mallard, scaup, redhead and canvasback. The daily limit shall not include more than 3 wood ducks. The possession limit shall not include more than 9 wood ducks. Daily limit: 1; possession limit: 3; for northern pintails, mottled ducks and fulvous whistling ducks. There shall be no season on Harlequin ducks, or Barrow’s Goldeneye.

REPEAL AND REPLACE CHAPTER 4.02 (H) and (I) AS FOLLOWS: H. Special Falconry Season In addition to the regular migratory bird season there shall be a special falconry season on ducks, geese, mergansers and American coots: NORTH ZONE: December 22, 2017 through February 12, 2018. (Closed to goose hunting February 1 to February 12, 2018) COASTAL and SOUTH ZONE: January 8, 2018 through February 28, 2018. (Closed to goose hunting February 17 to February 28, 2018) Falconry season daily bag and possession limits for all permitted migratory game birds shall not exceed 3* and 9* birds respectively, singly or in the aggregate. *all species restrictions apply.

I. Youth Waterfowl Hunt: NORTH ZONE – September 16, 2017 NORTH ZONE –December 2, 2017 SOUTH ZONE – September 23, 2017 SOUTH ZONE – October 21, 2017 COASTAL ZONE – September 23, 2017 COASTAL ZONE – November 4, 2017 1. Special Regulations for Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days: On the designated youth waterfowl hunt days, holders of a valid junior hunting license may hunt waterfowl with either a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow and must be in the presence of and under the effective control of an adult supervisor as defined by Title 12 §11108-C. State and Federal migratory bird hunting stamps are not required for youth hunters who hunt migratory game birds. Exception: if a hunter is 16 years of age and possesses a junior hunting license they must possess a valid Federal migratory bird hunting stamp. If a hunter is 16 years of age and possesses an adult hunting license they must obtain both the Federal migratory bird hunting stamp and a State migratory waterfowl permit. The parent, guardian or qualified adult shall not possess a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow while accompanying a youth hunter on youth hunting days except when the youth hunt day occurs during the early goose season and the adult may hunt for geese only. Legal shooting hours will be from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. All laws pertaining to the waterfowl hunting season apply including the species specific bag limits as outlined above. Youth day hunters may not take more than 6 ducks. No more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, or 4 long-tailed ducks or 5 in the aggregate may be taken as part of the 6-bird daily limit and will count towards the 6 ducks. In addition to the 6 bird daily bag limit youth can also take up to 5 mergansers and 5 coots.

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