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One month ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting on the advice of its own Field Staff, the Fish and Game Departments of the 48 states, Ducks Unlimited, the Canadian Wildlife Service and a hatful of private agencies released maximum waterfowl season lengths, bag limits and possession limits for the nation's four flyways. For U.S. hunters, the release added up to a sneak preview of the 1957-58 waterfowl season (SI, Aug. 26); but for the game departments in the individual states, the report provided a framework for the specific laws which each wildfowler must respect when he sets out this fall. Last week the states proclaimed the official seasons and limits for 1957-58.
In the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central fly-ways, hunters in each state received about the same rich fare they enjoyed last season, based upon preseason surveys, which showed a high percentage of return to breeding grounds by mature waterfowl and a correspondingly high hatch of young. In the Pacific Fly way, the news was even better. Because of moderate game harvests in previous years and because of damage which ducks and geese have done to grain crops in that area, the season was extended an average of 15 days. To balance the longer season and be sure that the game harvest doesn't become too big this year, the daily bag limits were reduced by one bird. There was not a Pacific hunter, however, who wasn't delighted to give up one bird in the hand for more days in the blind. Herewith the general waterfowl seasons, state by state:
ATLANTIC FLYWAY: Limits: ducks, daily 4, possession 8; geese, daily 2, possession 4.
CONNECTICUT: Oct. 26-Jan. 3
MISSISSIPPI FLYWAY: Limits: ducks, daily 4, possession 8; geese, daily and possession 5.
ALABAMA: Nov. 7-Jan. 15
CENTRAL FLYWAY: Limits: ducks, daily 5, possession 10; geese, daily and possession 6. Consult state regulations for geese seasons.
COLORADO: Oct. 18-Dec. 31
PACIFIC FLYWAY: Limits: ducks, daily 5, possession 10; geese, daily and possession 6.