Ducks Seasons and Bag Limits
North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 10-Nov. 28, and Dec. 19-Jan. 7.
South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 17-24, and Nov. 14-Jan. 14.
Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 10-Dec. 12, and Dec. 29-Jan. 2.
Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 26-Jan. 2.
Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 18 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including 2 hen mallards, 2 scaup, 1 black duck, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck and 4 scoters. Possession limits are triple the daily limits.
Mergansers: 5 daily, 15 in possession (not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, 6 hooded in possession). Coots: 15 daily, 45 in possession.
Duck Zone Boundaries:
Lake Erie Zone - Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of the Lake Erie shoreline.
Northwest Zone - The area bounded on the north by the Lake Erie Zone and including all of Erie and Crawford counties and all of Mercer and Venango counties north of I-80.
North Zone - The area east of the Northwest Zone and north of I-80 to Route 220, north from I-80 to I-180, north and east of I-180 from Route 220 to I-80, north of I-80 from I-180 to the Delaware River.
South Zone - All of state not in the Lake Erie, Northwest and North Zones.
Canada Goose Seasons and Bag Limits
This includes white-fronted geese. All of Pennsylvania will have a regular Canada goose season, however, season lengths and bag limits will vary by zone as follows:
RESIDENT POPULATION GOOSE ZONE (RP)
All of Pennsylvania except for the Southern James Bay Population and the Atlantic Population zones. The season is Oct. 24-Nov. 28, Dec. 18-Jan. 14, and Feb. 1-29, with a 5-goose daily bag limit; 15-goose possession limit.
SOUTHERN JAMES BAY POPULATION ZONE (SJBP)
The area north of I-80 and west of I-79 including in the city of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of Lake Erie Shoreline). The season is Oct. 10-Nov. 28 and Dec. 14-Jan. 22, with a 3-goose daily limit; 9-goose possession limit.
ATLANTIC POPULATION ZONE (AP)
The area east of SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of US Route 30, south of US Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, south of I-80 to New Jersey state line. The season is Nov. 14-28 and Dec. 19-Jan. 30, with a 3-goose daily limit; 9-goose possession limit.
Exception: Areas outside of the controlled goose hunting areas at the Middle Creek WMA and SGL 46 in Lebanon- Lancaster counties have a daily limit of one, and a possession limit of three during the regular Canada goose season. Areas inside the goose hunting areas at the Middle Creek WMA and SGL 46 have a season limit of one.
September Canada Goose: Sept. 1-25; 3 daily, 9 in possession (SJBP zone); 8 daily, 24 in possession (rest of state); exceptions:
1.) In the area south of SR 198 from the Ohio state line to intersection of SR 18, SR 18 south to SR 618, SR 618 south to US Route 6, US Route 6 east to US Route 322/SR 18, US Route 322/SR 18 west to intersection of SR 3013, SR 3013 south to the Crawford/Mercer County line. The daily bag limit is 1, possession limit 3; except on SGL 214 where the season is closed to September goose hunting.
2.) Canada geese may be taken on Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and an area to extend 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road). The daily bag limit is 3, possession limit of 9.
3.) In the area of Lancaster and Lebanon counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, east of SR 501 to SR 419, south of SR 419 to Lebanon-Berks county line, west of Lebanon-Berks county line and the Lancaster-Berks county line to SR 1053 (also known as Peartown Road and Greenville Road), west of SR 1053 to Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, the daily bag limit is 1, possession limit 3; except on SGL 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area) where the season is closed.
Note: Exceptions 1 and 3 do not apply to youth participation on youth waterfowl days, when regular season regulations apply. Hunting hours for all migratory birds, including Canada geese, close at sunset on youth waterfowl days.
Youth Waterfowl Days: Statewide: Sept. 19; additionally North and Northwest zones, Sept. 26; in Lake Erie Zone, Oct. 17; and in South Zone, Nov. 7. Refer to PGC website for more details.
Brant (All Zones): Oct. 17-Nov. 20, 1 daily, 3 in possession.
Light Geese (Snow Geese and Ross' Geese) Seasons and Bag Limits
Atlantic Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 1-Jan. 30, 25 daily, no possession limit.
Conservation Hunt: Feb. 1 – April 22; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Southern James Bay Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 1-Jan. 22; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Conservation Hunt: Jan. 23 – April 22; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Resident Population Zone:
Regular: Oct. 28-Feb. 29; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Conservation Hunt: March 1 – April 22; 25 daily, no possession limit.
Harlequin Ducks, and Tundra and Trumpeter Swans: No open season.
Webless Migratory Bird Seasons and Daily Bag Limits
||Oct. 17 - Nov. 28
||Dec. 26-Jan. 1
||Oct. 17-Nov. 28
||Oct. 17-Nov. 28
|Virginia and sora rails **
||Sept. 1-Nov. 9
|(The season for king and clapper rails is closed.)|
||Sept. 1 -Nov. 9
* Dove season hunting hours are noon to sunset for Sept. 1-25 and 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset for Sept. 26-Oct. 10 and the second and third segments of the season.
** Bag limits singly or combined.
Possession limit is triple the daily bag limit.
Refer to PGC website for further details and regulations.
Licenses Required, in addition to a Pennsylvania hunting license, to hunt ducks and geese: Persons 16 and older – Federal Duck Stamp, signed in ink across its face, and Migratory Game Bird License (HIP). Persons 12 through 15 – Migratory Game Bird License (HIP).
A valid Migratory Game Bird License (HIP) is also required to hunt other migratory game birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, gallinules, rails and snipe. If you purchased a HIP license last year, be sure to provide your last year's migratory game bird harvest results when asked. By answering these questions you will be entered into a pool of hunters from which samples for federal harvest surveys are drawn. Your responses to the questions improve efficiency and the quality of the information used to monitor the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes.
Voluntary PA Duck Stamp – Helps finance wetland acquisition and development and waterfowl education.
Band Reporting: online at www.reportband.gov, or call TOLL-FREE, 1-800-327-2263.
Please note that the following material is only a summary. Each hunter should also consult the actual Federal Regulations found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20. In addition to Pennsylvania regulations, the following federal rules also apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting and storing of migratory game birds.
Restrictions: No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, revolver, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10-gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
- With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
- From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
- From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft.
- From or by means of any motor boat or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased.
- By the use or aid of live decoys. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
- Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls or sounds, or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls.
- By driving, rallying or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put them in the range of hunters.
- By the aid of baiting (placing feed such as corn, wheat, salt or other feed to constitute a lure or enticement), or on or over any baited area. Hunters should be aware that a baited area is considered to be baited for 30 days after the removal of the bait.
Closed Season: No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season.
Waterfowl hunting is not permitted on Sundays.
Shooting or Falconry Hours: No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting and falconry as prescribed.
Daily Bag Limit: No person shall take in any one day more than one daily bag limit.
Field Possession Limit: No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit while in the field or returning from the field to one's car, hunting camp, home, etc.
Wanton Waste: All migratory game birds killed or crippled shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.
Tagging: No person shall give, put or leave any migratory game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: the hunter's signature and address; the total number of birds involved, by species; and the dates such birds were killed. No person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are tagged.
Possession of Live Birds: Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.
Dressing: No person shall completely field dress any migratory game bird (except doves) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to one's home or to a migratory bird preservation facility.
Nontoxic Shot, Shot Size: NONTOXIC SHOT must be used while hunting ducks, geese and/or coots in Pennsylvania; the possession of lead shot while hunting ducks, geese and/or coots is unlawful. Shot for waterfowl hunting may not be larger than T size. Nontoxic shot types approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife are: Steel shot, steel shot with coating (1% of either copper, nickel, zinc chromate, or zinc chloride), bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix and tungsten-nickel (HEVI-SHOT), tungsten-bronze-iron shot, tungsten-tin-bismuth, and tungsten-tin-iron-nickel.
Decoys: The use of decoys powered or operated by batteries or any other source of electricity are unlawful for use in Pennsylvania.
Baiting: The use of any sort of natural or artificial substance or product as bait or an attractant is prohibited.
2015-16 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Hours
For the September Canada goose season and the snow goose conservation season, hunting hours are from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. On Sept. 19 hunting hours close at sunset for Canada geese. For all other Canada goose seasons, the snow goose regular season, and all other migratory game bird seasons (except for the Sept. 1-25 portion of mourning dove season), hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The accompanying table lists, by date, one half hour before sunrise and sunset times. To determine actual hunting hours for the September Canada goose season, add 30 minutes to the sunset times. These adjustments need to be made in addition to those based on the meridian map.
|Pymatuning WMA: Shooting days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, one-half hour before sunrise to 12:30 p.m. Ducks: Oct. 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 31; Nov. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28 and 30; Dec. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 30; and Jan. 2. Geese: Oct. 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 31; Nov. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25 and 27; Dec. 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28 and 30; and Jan. 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20 and 22.|
Middle Creek WMA: Shooting days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1:30 p.m. Geese and ducks: Nov. 14 (Junior-Only Day), 17, 19, 21, 24, 26 and 28; Dec. 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, and 31; Jan. 2, 5, 7, 9, 12 and 14. Geese only: Jan. 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, and 30.
Junior Waterfowl Hunting Days: Statewide: Sept. 19; also in North and Northwest zones, Sept. 26; in Lake Erie Zone, Oct. 17; and in South Zone, Nov. 7. Open to licensed junior hunters ages 12-15, when properly accompanied, for ducks, mergansers, gallinules and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season. Hunting hours to close at sunset. Blinds will not be open for junior waterfowl days at Middle Creek or Pymatuning WMAs. Middle Creek will have a "Junior-Only Day" on Nov. 14; Pymatuning, Nov. 28.
|WATERFOWL CONSUMPTION ADVISORY: In a recent Pennsylvania Game Commission study of Lake Erie waterfowl, contaminants such as PCBs, DDE, and mercury were found in all mergansers tested, as well as in some buffleheads. These contaminants may also be present in other Pennsylvania waterbodies and contaminated waterfowl could migrate to other areas of the Commonwealth. To avoid potential health impacts, the Game Commission offers the following advice on waterfowl consumption, applicable statewide: 1.) Mergansers should not be eaten; 2.) Other diving ducks if properly prepared should be eaten only occasionally; and 3.) Dabbling ducks and geese can be eaten safely if properly prepared. Proper preparation includes skinning and removing the fat before cooking; cooking to an internal temperature of 165° F as determined by a meat thermometer; and discarding the stuffing (if prepared in this manner) after cooking.|
This publication is only a guide. For official law see Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code and Code of Federal Regulations, Title 50 Part 20. For additional information on federal migratory bird hunting regulations, refer to the waterfowl page at www.pgc.state.pa.us. For additional information on federal regulations, contact: Resident Agent in Charge, USFWS/OLE, 1210 Corbin St., 1st Floor, Elizabeth, NJ 07201; 1-908-787-1321.