2020-21 season dates | What’s changing | Background

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BACKGROUND

Waterfowl hunting regulations are set at two levels: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets science-based frameworks based on waterfowl population and other data, with guidance from councils established in each flyway. Then the California Fish & Game Commission sets regulations that fit within those frameworks.

Our role: California Waterfowl’s advocacy team advocates for regulations that promote hunter opportunity, participation and satisfaction within bounds that preserve the overall health of waterfowl populations. We are proud to carry on the tradition of sustainable hunting ensured by the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

This year, California Waterfowl’s Regulations and Traditions Committee and board voted to support the proposed 2020-21 regulations on April 3 (read our letter here), and CWA testified at the commission meeting on April 16. See California Waterfowl’s positions on major regulatory issues, including our efforts to liberalize pintail limits, here.

WHAT’S CHANGING

Veteran hunt days

Veterans and active-duty military personnel will have their own special waterfowl hunt days. The two special hunt days are allowed under a new federal law, and like youth hunt weekends, they will come out of the 107 days of total duck and goose hunting allowed in each zone.

The veteran hunt days will be held the weekend after the close of general duck and goose season in the Northeastern Zone, which reduces the general season length there to 103 days. Veteran hunt days will be held after Youth Hunt Weekend in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones.

Allowable species include ducks, American coots, common moorhens and geese for the Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones. However, in the Northeastern and Balance of State zones, geese will not be allowed during veteran hunt days because all 107 available days are used during regular and late seasons (and youth hunt weekends) to address crop depredation concerns.

Participants will need to carry proof of eligibility for the hunt, including a Veterans Affairs-issued veterans ID card, state issued driver’s license or identification card with veteran designation or a current military identification card.

Extended falconry seasons

Extended falconry seasons of three to four days are being added after the regular season in all zones except Northeastern.

Closing date

This year marks a return to the regular season closing on the last Sunday in January for the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones. In 2019-20, the state took advantage of new federal regulations allowing duck season to go until Jan. 31, not just the last Sunday in January. But in 2021, Jan. 31 is the last Sunday in January.

Bag limits

The pintail limit will remain at one per day, and the scaup limit will drop from three per day to two, pursuant to federal frameworks that the state cannot exceed.

Season lengths

The brant seasons will be reduced from 37 days to 27 days.

2020-21 SEASON DATES

Use links below to skip to any zone:

Northeastern
Balance of State
Southern San Joaquin Valley
Southern California
Colorado River Zone

(Click here to view map full-sized – opens in a new tab)

NORTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA ZONE

Map of Klamath Basin Special Management Area

Klamath Basin Special Management Area

SEASONS

  • Ducks: Oct. 3-Jan. 13
  • Scaup: Oct. 3-Nov. 29 and Dec. 17-Jan. 13
  • Canada geese: Oct. 3-Jan. 10
  • White geese & white-fronts (specklebellies): Oct. 3-Nov. 29 and Jan. 2-Jan. 15 (except in the Klamath Basin Special Management Area).
  • Special Youth Hunt days: Sept. 19-20.
  • New special Veteran Hunt days: Jan. 16-17 (no geese allowed)
  • Late white goose & white-front season: Feb. 6-Mar. 10 (except in the Klamath Basin Special Management Area).

LIMITS

  • Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7, which may contain 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 2 scaup.
  • Geese: Daily bag limit: 30, which may include up to 20 white geese, up to 10 dark geese, of which only 2 may be large Canada geese.
  • Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Klamath Basin Special Management Area:

  • White geese & white-fronts (specklebellies): Oct. 3-Jan. 15
  • Canada geese: Oct. 3-Jan. 10.

BALANCE OF STATE ZONE

SEASONS

  • Ducks and geese: Oct. 24-Jan. 31
  • Scaup: Nov. 7-Jan. 31
  • Early large Canada goose season: Oct. 3-Oct. 7 ( (except in the North Coast Special Management Area).
  • Late white-fronts and white goose season: Feb. 20-24 (except Sacramento Valley Special Management Area, where white-fronts are closed).
  • Special Youth Hunt days: Feb. 6-7.
  • New extended falconry season: Feb. 10-12
  • New special Veteran Hunt days: Feb. 13-14 (no geese allowed)

LIMITS

  • Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7, which may contain 7 mallards of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 2 scaup.
  • Geese: Daily bag limit: 30, which may include up to 20 white geese and up to 10 dark geese.
  • Early large Canada goose season: 10 large Canada geese
  • Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREAS

Brant SMAs:

      • Northern Brant, Nov. 18-Dec. 14
      • Balance of State Brant, Nov. 19-Dec. 15; 2 per day.

North Coast SMA: Canada geese, Nov. 7-Jan. 31, and Feb. 20-Mar. 10; no more than 10 per day, of which 1 may be a large Canada goose (no large Canada geese may be taken during the late season).

Sacramento Valley SMA: No more than 3 white-fronts may be taken Oct. 24-Dec. 21.

SOUTHERN SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY ZONE

SEASONS

  • Ducks and geese: Oct. 24-Jan. 31
  • Scaup: Nov. 7-Jan. 31
  • Special Youth Hunt days: Feb. 6-7.
  • New extended falconry season: Feb. 10-12
  • New special Veteran Hunt days: Feb. 13-14

LIMITS

  • Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7, which may contain 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 2 scaup.
  • Geese: Daily bag limit: 30, which may include up to 20 white geese and up to 10 dark geese.
  • Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ZONE

SEASONS

  • Ducks and geese: Oct. 24-Jan. 31
  • Scaup: Nov. 7-Jan. 31
  • Special Youth Hunt days: Feb. 6-7.
  • New extended falconry season: Feb. 10-12
  • New special Veteran Hunt days: Feb. 13-14

LIMITS

  • Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7, which may contain 7 mallards, of which only 2 can be female; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 2 scaup.
  • Geese: Daily bag limit: 23. Of which only 20 may be white geese and only 3 may be dark geese.
  • Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Imperial County Special Management Area: White geese, Nov. 7-Jan. 31; and Feb. 1-5, 8-12 and 15-21; limit of 20 per day

COLORADO RIVER ZONE (must match Arizona regulations)

SEASONS

  • Ducks and geese: Oct. 23-Jan. 31
  • Scaup: Nov. 7-Jan. 31
  • Special Youth Hunt days: Feb. 6-7.
  • New extended falconry season: Feb. 1-4

LIMITS

  • Ducks: Daily bag limit: 7, which may contain 7 mallards, but not more than 2 female mallards or Mexican-like ducks; 1 pintail; 2 canvasback; 2 redheads; 2 scaup.
  • Geese: Daily bag limit: 24, which may contain 20 white geese and up to 4 may be dark geese.
  • Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.