OUTDOORS with Wehrle: Duck season opens today

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

There was probably a lot of activity in the Grand River bottoms this morning, as the 2021 Missouri North Zone duck season opened at a half-hour before sunrise.

Area duck hunters have been working pretty hard for the last month or so, getting their blinds, decoys, and other equipment ready for this year’s 60-days duck season, and now they get to actually hunt. Hopefully, this year’s migratory flight of ducks is on its way, with some of them maybe already here.

This year’s predictions on the number of ducks coming down the flyway are somewhat uncertain. Severe drought this summer in the duck’s nesting areas might reduce the number of ducks available this year.

Duck season is open from a half-hour before sunrise until sunset daily for the next couple of months, so ducks have to be careful where they go to eat and rest to avoid a confrontation with eager hunters.

Duck hunting regulations this year are basically unchanged from last year – a 6-ducks daily limit with some species restrictions, and an 18-ducks possession limit, and hunters may use shotguns of any gauge from 10-gauge down to .410, but must use non-toxic (not lead) shotshells.

Hunters can’t shoot geese quite yet, as that season doesn’t open until Nov. 11, so don’t get trigger happy when that flock of Canadas comes right in to your decoys.

Duck season stays open through Dec. 28, and goose season will be open through Feb. 6, with another Light Goose Conservation Order season on snow and blue geese running Feb. 7-April 30, 2022.

Goose limits remain at three (3) Canadas or brant (combined) daily, two (2) white-fronted geese per day, and 20 snow, blue and Ross’s geese daily during the regular goose season. During the Conservation Order Season later, there will be no limit on the number of light geese you can take daily or have in your possession.

Fall firearms wild turkey season will close tomorrow (Oct. 31). At this writing (about two weeks out), the number of turkeys checked in this fall was well under the 2,127 recorded last year and might end up less than the lowest year ever – 1,952 in 2019.

The last time I checked, less than a dozen turkeys had been checked in from Livingston County during the fall firearms season. Only a couple more had been checked in by Livingston County bowhunters.

Archers are doing quite well at taking deer thus far, however, with the archery deer harvest approaching 100 in Livingston County and 17,000 statewide.

November is right around the corner, and with November comes the annual firearms deer season which attracts more hunters than any other Missouri hunting season.

This year’s November firearms season will run Nov. 13-23, with the archery deer and turkey season temporarily closed during it. Bow hunting for them will reopen Nov. 24 to run through Jan. 15, 2022.

Firearms deer hunting actually got an early start today, with an early youth season this weekend. That’s the first of the five different Missouri firearms deer seasons.

There’s lots going on in Missouri’s great outdoors, with duck and deer seasons, plus quail and pheasant seasons opening Monday.

Whatever hunting you’re doing, be safe!

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