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Duck, goose seasons will max out again

Oregon waterfowl hunters will see their record run of long duck and goose seasons reach 16 this fall with yet another maximum-length hunting season.

Solid but not spectacular duck counts along the Pacific Flyway, as well as decent local duck production, means Oregon hunters again will have 107 days of duck hunting this fall and winter.

Similarly good goose counts mean Oregon will continue its maximum 107 days of goose hunting.

Those are the frameworks announced last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which sets the season parameters used by states to craft their hunting seasons.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets the state's hunting seasons, is set to consider season dates when it meets today in Salem.

Under the federal frameworks, Pacific Flyway states will be allowed to set goose seasons anywhere from Sept. 29 through March 10. The proposed basic daily bag limits are up to 10 white geese and six dark geese, but many exceptions occur state-to-state and it does not guarantee that Oregon will see that bag limit.

The duck season can begin as early as Sept. 22 and run as late as Jan. 27. The proposed daily limit is seven ducks, including no more than two mallard hens, two redheads, two pintails and one canvasback.

For brant, the framework proposes a 16-day season for Oregon.

Along with Oregon, other states within the Pacific Flyway are California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Washington and portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Surveys conducted by the USFWS in parts of the United States and Canada show a 2012 estimated duck population of 48.6 million birds, an increase of 7 percent over last year.

Despite poor habitat conditions in 2011, population estimates are considered good for this breeding season.

The service also estimates that prairie Canada and the United State combined to form 5.5 million ponds in the breeding areas, and that's down one-third from the previous count, according to the service.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.