Jacobs noted that spring population estimates and fall flight forecasts are obtained at large geographic scales, and therefore are not reliable predictors of waterfowl numbers that can be expected during hunting seasons.“At the local or regional level, hunting pressure, habitat and weather variables most often dictate waterfowl movements, staging and wintering numbers through the hunting seasons.“In the Atlantic Population Goose Zone, the regular light goose season will be Oct. 1 to Jan. 25, with a light goose conservation season to run from Jan. 27 to April 25. In the Southern James Bay Population Goose Zone, the regular light goose season will be Oct. 1 to Jan. 24, with a light goose conservation season to run from Jan. 25 to April 25. The Resident Population Goose Zone regular light goose season will run Oct. 28 to Feb. 28, and the light goose conservation season will run March 1 to April 25.
Young Pennsylvania hunters will have two special days of waterfowl hunting, on Saturday, Sept. 14, and Saturday, Sept. 21. The Junior Waterfowl Days will be open to those 12 to 15 years old who hold a junior hunting license. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the juniors in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt. During these two special hunts, juniors can harvest Canada geese, ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens. The daily bag limit for juniors participating in the Junior Waterfowl Days is the same as for the regular season daily limit in the area being hunted. The only exception is when September Canada goose daily bag limits exceed the regular season limit for the area being hunted; juniors then can take the September daily limit.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded that on the junior waterfowl hunting days, Sept. 14 and 21, hunting hours for all waterfowl species closes at sunset. For the remainder of the September 2 to 25 Canada goose season, hunting hours close at one-half hour after sunset.“Federal frameworks specify that for most migratory game bird seasons, hunting hours must close at sunset,“ Jacobs said. „Exceptions currently are in place to allow states to extend hunting hours to one-half hour after sunset for the September Canada goose season and the light goose conservation season to increase harvest of overabundant waterfowl populations. Extended hunting hours can only be in effect when no other waterfowl seasons are open. With the youth days open to other waterfowl, hunting hours for Canada geese must close at sunset on those two days to comply with federal regulations.“