Waterfowl Seasons

Ducks, coots and mergansers

Waterfowl breeding habitat in the Canadian prairies was variable in 2016, but averaged good to fair. The U.S. prairies were largely fair to poor, though better than 2015. The Canadian prairie was drier than 2015, though there were bright spots of excellent habitat conditions in Sasketchewan. Habitat in eastern Canada was also variable, but good on average, and wetter than 2015.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the mallard breeding population at 11.8 million, essentially the same as in 2015 and 51 percent higher than the long-term average. The total duck population was similar to 2015 at 48.4 million. All dabbling ducks except pintails remain above their long-term averages p>

Species Hunting Dates
Teal (Blue- and green-winged only) *Sept. 9 - Sept. 24
Daily bag limit; six, Possession limit: 18. Shooting hours: sunrise to sunset, HIP registration required *No teal hunting on Kankakee FWA.

Regular duck seasons

Zone Dates
North Zone Oct. 21 - Dec. 10, 2017
Dec. 23 - 31, 2017
Central Zone

Oct. 28 - Nov. 5, 2017
Nov. 25, 2017 - Jan. 14, 2018

South Zone Nov. 4 - 12, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017 - Jan. 21, 2018

The daily bag limit for ducks is six. This includes any combination of goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads, gadwalls, long-tailed ducks, scoters, teal, wigeon and shovelers. Included in the daily limit of six are additional restrictions on the following:

Mallards: Only four mallards may be taken daily, including not more than two females.

  • Wood ducks: Only three wood ducks may be taken daily.
  • Pintails: Only one pintail may be taken daily.
  • Redheads: Only two redheads may be taken daily.
  • Scaup: Only three scaup may be taken daily.
  • Black ducks: Only two black ducks may be taken daily.
  • Canvasback: Only two canvasbacks may be taken daily.
  • Mottled duck: Only one mottled duck may be taken daily.
  • The daily bag limit for coots is 15.
  • The daily bag for mergansers (which is separate from the duck limit) is five, including not more than two hooded mergansers.
  • Possession limit for ducks, coots and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit.
  • Shooting hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Shooting hours at some DNR properties may vary.

Geese

On the subarctic Canadian breeding grounds, spring arrived near the 5-year average in 2016. Snow pack was below average and melted quickly. However, June temperatures were below average and that may have caused gosling mortality, so production for the Southern James Bay and Mississippi Valley populations was likely below average. The survey design was changed in 2016 to detect changes in population rather than to produce a population estimate; therefore, no population estimate is available for 2016 for these long-distance migrant populations.

The estimate of temperate-breeding (giant) Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway increased from 2016. Indiana’s breeding Canada geese saw an increase in 2017 of about 25,000 breeding birds. Many of these birds were apparently one-year-old non-breeders from 2016’s excellent reproduction. Spring conditions were quite wet in most of the state again this year, and early reports are that production seems to have been very good. The overall breeding population estimate for the Flyway at 1.78 million (a new record). The fall Canada goose hunting outlook in Indiana is good.

Goose season structure changed substantially last year. The Special Late Canada Goose Zone Season has been discontinued, but we now have February hunting dates in all three zones. In addition, the requirements for the September season have been relaxed. Again this year we will have fewer September hunting days in most of the state, but a far longer regular season.

Zone Dates
North Zone

Sept. 9 - 17, 2017
Oct. 21 - Nov. 26, 2017
Dec. 16, 2017 - Feb. 11, 2018

Central Zone

Sept. 9 - 17, 2017
Oct. 28 - Nov. 12, 2017
Nov. 25, 2017 - Feb. 11, 2018

 South Zone Sept. 9 - 17, 2017
Nov. 4 - 26, 2017
Dec. 2, 2017 - Feb. 11, 2018

The bag limit for all dark geese (Canada, white-fronted and brant) is the same as 2016 seasons The limit is five dark geese, no more than three of which can be Canada geese. The bag limit in September is five dark geese, all of which can be Canada geese. The possession limit is three times the daily bag limit. The daily bag limit for light geese (snow, blue and/or Ross’ geese) is 20, with no possession limit for light geese. Read the light geese conservation order.

Youth waterfowl weekends

Zone Dates
North Zone Oct. 14 - 15, 2017
Central Zone Oct. 21 - 22, 2017
South Zone Oct. 28 - 29, 2017

Hunters must be 15 years of age or younger and properly licensed to participate. They must also be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. An adult may accompany more than one youth. The licensed accompanying adult may not hunt waterfowl. If the accompanying adult does not intend to hunt and does not possess a firearm, the adult does not need to be licensed. Bag and species limits are the same as those allowed in the regular season for ducks and geese.

Late Canada goose zone season

The late Canada goose zone season has been discontinued this year, since we now have February hunting dates for Canada geese statewide.