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Waterfowlers set for another maximum-length season

Oregon waterfowl hunters will be living the good life again as they embark on their 14th straight season of getting to enjoy the maximum number of hunting days possible on the Pacific Flyway.

Solid duck counts along the Pacific Flyway, as well as decent local duck production, mean Oregon hunters again will have 107 days of duck hunting this fall and winter.

Duck numbers in major breeding areas of Alaska, Canada, Montana and the Dakotas are up 21 percent compared to the long-term average, with redheads and green-winged teal still hovering at near-record levels.

Similarly good goose counts means Oregon will continue its 100-day goose season, with open hunting dates staggered around the state.

The duck and merganser season opens Saturday, Oct. 9, and runs through Nov. 28 in Zone 2, which includes Klamath and Lake counties, as well as most of Eastern Oregon. After a short break, hunting resumes Dec. 1 and runs through Jan. 23.

Duck hunting in Jackson County and the rest of Western Oregon opens Saturday, Oct. 16, and runs until Oct. 24. Hunting then reopens Oct. 27 and runs through Jan. 30. The daily limit remains seven ducks.

The daily limit of pintails in Oregon again will be two this year, while hunters will be allowed one canvasback.

As in past years, the season sports 105 shooting days for waterfowl hunters, with the final two days set aside for the annual federal waterfowl youth hunt on Saturday and Sunday.

The seasons are set based on a traditional framework that back-loads hunting dates to focus more effort in January and less in October.

Klamath County's season for geese runs Oct. 9 through Nov. 28, then Dec. 13 through Jan. 20. The goose season for Lake, Harney and Malheur counties runs Oct. 9 through Oct. 24 and Dec. 13 through Jan. 30.

The goose bag limits will vary, with four dark geese and six white geese the most common, just like last year.

In the Southwest Oregon region — which includes Jackson and Josephine counties — the regular goose season opens Oct. 16 and runs through Dec. 3, then reopens Dec. 11 and runs through Jan. 30.

Oregon's waterfowlers grew by 3.4-percent last year, when 51,636 hunters bought the state's waterfowl validation stamp.

They collectively killed about 361,000 ducks and about 61,000 geese last season.