Outdoors in Whitehall with Gene Terry: Waterfowl season discussed

On Aug. 6 the Whitehall Fish and Game Club hosted a joint Waterfowl meeting at the Skenesborough Rescue Squad between Vermont and New York to set the 2013 season for duck hunters on Lake Champlain.

This is one of two meetings held every year to get hunters’ suggestions on the upcoming duck season. The other meeting was held at the northern end of the lake in Burlington, Vt.

Those holding the meeting were NYS Wildlife biologists John O’ Connor, Vermont waterfowl biologist David Saresville and Region 5 wildlife manager Lance Durfrey.

Waterfowl seasons are already set for the Northeast Zone.

Ducks: Oct. 5-13 and then Oct. 26 to Dec. 15; Canada Geese: Sept. 1-25 and then Oct. 26 to Nov. 17 and again from Nov. 19-Dec. 15.

Proposed duck seasons for Lake Champlain, and I would say this is a go, are:

Ducks: Oct. 9-13 and then Oct. 26 to Dec. 19; Canada Geese: Sept. 3-25 and Oct. 10 to Nov. 28.

The youth waterfowl hunting weekend on Lake Champlain will be Sept. 28 and 29 and in the Northeast Zone on Sept. 21 and 22.

Here locally, we used to have three zones for waterfowl hunting. Last year they moved the Southeast zone down to Route 29 in Saratoga County, which covered east of Whitehall, the canal area, etc. This area is now in the Northeast Zone. Both the Northeast Zone and the Lake Champlain Zone now cover our immediate areas.

Believe it or not, there are 10 different zones in New York state and most of then have different starting and ending dates for duck season. A game warden’s nightmare or a hunter’s when you can just step across a stream or road and be in a different zone with a different season and bag limit.

As in previous years you have to have a Harvest Information program number (H.I.P.). The number to call is 1-888-427-5447 or register online at www.ny-hip.com. You also have a duck stamp which you can acquire at the post office along with the 2013-14 rules and regulations. These rules are slowing in coming out. I have found that if you call the DEC office in Warrensburg at 623-1200 they sometimes have them there. No sense in calling before Oct. 1 as no one knows what’s going on anyway.

For the first time duck hunters remember no matter what shotgun you use you have to a plug in it to be able to not hold more than three shells, this includes one in the chamber.

There’s nothing like hunting ducks and geese when you have a good dog with you. I was very fortunate to have a couple of outstanding dogs. One especially when I can honestly say I never lost a duck because of this outstanding hunter. It’s just wonderful to watch a dog retrieve your ducks. Here I go rambling on again but I have been fortunate to have some good memories with fellow hunters and canines. I guess that’s what happens when you get older. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Have a good hunting season.

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