Youth Waterfowl and regular season Canada goose hunts set to open in September

MADISON -Regular season Canada goose hunting opens Sunday, Sept. 16, along with the Youth Waterfowl Hunt Sept. 15-16.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

This year’s Youth Waterfowl hunt will be held Sept. 15-16. This special hunt offers youth hunters ages 15 and under the opportunity to learn skills from an adult without the increased hunting pressure encountered during the regular season.

“These two days provide a great opportunity for nearly 3,500 kids annually – many of which get out due to the generosity of a friend or family member,” said Taylor Finger, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources migratory game bird ecologist.

Normal season bag limits apply, but all license and stamp requirements are waived for the youth hunt. However, participants still need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and possess both an early and a regular season goose permit if they wish to hunt geese during both days. Licensed adults may also hunt geese since the early and Exterior seasons are open during these dates.

Individuals of all ages and skill levels are reminded to check out a Learn to Hunt waterfowl clinic in their area to learn more about hunting and its role within conservation.

Regular Goose season

With resident Canada goose breeding numbers similar to recent years and average production of the Ontario breeders, hunters should have ample opportunities this year, and will again enjoy a full 92 days of hunting in the Exterior zone with a 3-bird daily bag limit.

“When combined with the 15 days of the early season, this puts WI at 107 days of Canada goose hunting, and the maximum season length allowed by federal law,” said Finger

Exterior Zone Canada goose season structure is as follows:

  • Northern Zone – Sept. 16 to Dec. 16;
  • Southern Zone – Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to Dec. 2 and Dec. 16- Jan. 3, 2019; and
  • Mississippi River Subzone – Sept.29- Oct 5 and Oct. 13 to Jan. 3, 2019.

Hunters should note that the goose season is closed during the duck season split in both the South Zone (closed Oct. 8-12) and Mississippi River Subzone (closed Oct. 6 -12). The southern zone for the first time will also have a second split when duck season ends (closed from Dec. 3-15) and opening back up and running through Jan 3, 2019.

As a reminder the Horicon Canada goose Zone was eliminated and is now a part of the Southern Exterior goose zone.

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords “waterfowl management.”

Go Wild
Early and Exterior Zone goose permits are printed on regular white paper, rather than green thermal paper. While afield, hunters must carry their Canada goose harvest permit. Acceptable methods of proof include a paper copy, Go Wild generated PDF displayed on a mobile device, Wisconsin driver’s license or Go Wild Conservation Card. As a reminder to Canada goose hunters, registration of Canada geese and in-field validation of the Canada goose hunting permit is no longer required. For more information regarding Go Wild, visit [EXIT DNR].

Avian Influenza
Several federal agencies are working in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to collect samples related to the research and surveillance of avian influenza in wild birds. This surveillance will help monitor for the virus during fall migration. Wild birds from targeted areas throughout the state will be sampled between now and spring 2018.

Avian influenza is a viral disease common in wild bird populations with many different subtypes – most do not cause obvious signs of disease in wild birds or have the ability to infect animals other than birds. While strains currently detected in the U.S. have caused mortality of domestic birds, they have not resulted in any illness in humans.

Samples will be collected from live-captured birds during DNR banding efforts and from hunter-harvested dabbling ducks, such as blue-winged teal, mallard, wood duck and Northern pintail. Federal staff will also be located at boat landings and other hunter access points this fall to sample ducks from willing hunters.

To learn more, search keywords “bird diseases.”