OUTDOORS: North Zone duck season to open Saturday, Oct. 30

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T/LCL Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri’s 2021 North Zone duck season opens next Saturday, Oct. 30, and will run through Dec. 28 (60 days). A youth-only duck season is open today and tomorrow (Oct. 23-24).

The North Zone includes all local and area counties except a small piece of southern Carroll County.

Waterfowl regulations governing limits, shooting hours and allowable methods remain basically unchanged.

The daily limit on ducks remains at six (6), with species restrictions allowing only four (4) mallards (no more than two hens), three (3) wood ducks, two (2) each black ducks,  canvasbacks,  hooded mergansers, and redheads,  two (2) scaup for the first 45 days, dropping to only one (1) scaup for the last 15 days of the season, and one (1) each mottled duck and pintail. The coot limit remains 15 per day.

The daily limit on all species not listed above is six (6). Possession limits are three times the daily limits.

Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. Non-toxic (not lead) shot must be used for all waterfowl hunting. Electronic calls, live decoys and baiting are prohibited.

Duck hunters must carry with them a small-game hunting permit, a migratory bird hunting permit, and a federal duck stamp, unless excepted from carrying a small-game hunting permit due to age (age 15 years and younger or 65 years and older).

Hunters age 15 and under must hunt in the immediate presence of a properly-licensed adult hunter age 18 or older who has a valid hunter education card or was born before Jan. 1, 1967 or possess a hunter education card of their own.

Age 65 and over hunters don’t need a small-game hunting permit, but must still carry a migratory bird hunting permit and federal duck stamp.

Due to a severe drought this year in the Prairie Pothole Region, where many of the ducks that come through here usually nest and raise young ones, there may be a smaller number of ducks migrating through here than usual.

Weather and water levels in the wetlands here also have a bearing on how many ducks we see flying by during the season, and our dry weather locally has lowered water levels in many of our wetlands.

As in all years, eager waterfowlers will just have to wait and see what shows up in front of our blinds when the season opens next week. I plan to be there!

Archery deer and turkey seasons and fall firearms turkey season all are still open right now, although the firearms turkey season is set to close fairly soon (Oct. 31).

Archery seasons will temporarily close during the November firearms deer season, but reopen as soon as that season is over.

So far, it appears that hunting for both deer and turkeys has been pretty slow, but, with the deer rut starting pretty soon, deer hunting should pick up.

Turkeys don’t draw as much attention in the fall as they do in the spring, and this fall’s turkey harvest has been small.

With duck season opening and firearms turkey season closing, turkeys probably won’t be getting hunted much after next week, but deer hunting will likely pick up and firearms deer season isn’t that far away now.

Whatever you’re hunting, be safe!

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column appears in the C-T every Saturday and LCL every Monday)