MADISON, Wis. – Thanks to input from hunters and new scientific research, changes are coming to the 2021 migratory bird hunting season. Today the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted unanimously for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to move forward with proposed rules for the 2021 migratory bird season framework and regulations.

Highlights from the approved season structure include:

  • A new duck zone structure for the 2021 season. A new Open Water Zone has been created in the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, and the former Mississippi River Zone has been absorbed into the South Zone.
  • The South Canada Goose Zone has a daily bag limit of three Canada geese during the first portion of the season, and a daily bag limit of five Canada geese during the Holiday Hunt.
  • Based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s season framework, there will be a scaup bag limit of one scaup for 15 days and two scaup for 45 days.

“The 2021 season frameworks are based on the most current scientific data, as well as on input from the public, conservation and hunting groups and results from a waterfowl hunter survey,” said Taylor Finger, DNR migratory bird ecologist. “We used all the tools in our toolbox to collect public input while adhering to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Virtual meetings and expanded online outreach increased our engagement with our customers. In total, we received more than 1,500 comments regarding the 2021 waterfowl season proposals.”

The public plays a crucial role in setting the waterfowl season structure. View the 2021 public input results and comments here. Learn more about waterfowl hunting here.

Early season dates are as follows:

Early Species Season Open Close Limit
Early Teal Sept. 1 Sept. 9

Six birds per day,
sunrise-sunset shooting hours

Early Goose Sept. 1 Sept. 15

Five birds per day

Mourning Dove Sept. 1 Nov. 29

15 birds per day

Woodcock Sept. 25 Nov. 8

Three birds per day


Duck season dates and bag limits are as follows. Opening day shooting hours will begin one-half hour before sunrise for all regular waterfowl hunting seasons.

Duck Season First Open First Close Second Open Second Close
Youth Hunt Sept. 18 Sept. 19    
North Zone Sept. 25 Nov. 23    
South Zone Oct. 2 Oct. 10 Oct 16 Dec. 5
Open Water Zone Oct. 16 Dec. 14    


The daily bag limit statewide is six ducks, including no more than:

Duck Bag Limits
Species Daily limit (total daily bag limit is six ducks of any species)
Mallard 4 (of which only 2 may be a hen)
Black Duck 2
Canvasback 2
Wood Duck 3
Pintail 1
Redhead 2
Merganser 5
Any duck species not specifically listed 6


There is a 60-day restrictive scaup bag limit (federal restriction; 15 days at one scaup/day and 45 days at two scaup/day):

60-day Restrictive Scaup Bag Limit

Zone Period Scaup/day limit
North Zone Sept. 25 – Oct. 9 One/day
Oct. 10 – Nov. 23 Two/day
South Zone Oct. 2 – Oct. 10 One/day
Oct. 16 – Oct. 21 One/day
Oct. 22 – Dec. 5 Two/day
Open Water Zone Oct. 16 – Oct. 30 One/day
Oct. 31 – Dec. 14 Two/day


Regular goose season dates are as follows (92 days total):

Regular Goose Season Dates
Zone First Open First Close Second Open Second Close Third Open Third Close
Daily Bag Limit 3 Canada geese/day 3 Canada geese/day 3 Canada geese/day 3 Canada geese/day 5 Canada geese/day 5 Canada geese/day
North Zone (3 Canada geese/day entire season) Sept. 16 Dec. 16        
South Zone Sept. 16 Oct. 10 Oct. 16 Dec. 5 Dec. 20 Jan. 4, 2022
Mississippi Zone (3 Canada geese/day entire season) Oct. 2 Oct. 10 Oct. 16 Jan. 4    
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