Hunters of early-migrating gamebirds can mark their calendars now. The Missouri Conservation Commission has approved the following early migratory bird hunting seasons and limits:
*Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 (70 days), with limits of 15 daily and 45 in possession (combined total for all three species).
*Blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, and cinnamon teal: The blue-winged teal (BWT) is the primary species harvested during this early hunting season. For this reason, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bases teal hunting regulations on an annual survey of BWT numbers on the birds’ nesting grounds. Survey data are not available until mid-summer, so each year the Conservation Commission approves season dates contingent on survey results. If the BWT breeding population index is below 3.3 million, the season is closed. If the BWT breeding population index is at least 3.3 million but fewer than 4.7 million, this year’s season will be Sept. 6 through 14 (nine days). If the BWT breeding population index is 4.7 million or greater, the season will be Sept. 6 through 21 (16 days). If there is an early teal season, the limits will be six daily and 18 in possession.
*Sora and Virginia rails: Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 (70 days), with a daily limit of 25 and a possession limit of 75 (combined total for both species).
*Wilson’s (common) snipe: Sept. 1 through Dec. 16 (107 days), with a daily limit of eight and a possession limit of 24.
*American woodcock: Oct. 15 through Nov. 28 (45 days), with a daily limit of three and a possession limit of nine.
Additional details about early migratory bird hunting regulations will be published in the 2014 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest. The publication will be available from hunting permit vendors later this summer and online at mdc.mo.gov.
EARLY SEASONS SET – Mark your calendar now for opening days of dove, teal, woodcock, snipe, and rail hunting seasons.