Pre-sunrise Shooting at Nontarget Waterfowl during September Wood Duck Seasons

Kentucky Department Fish and Wildlife Resources and Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency evaluated the impact of pre-sunrise shooting on nontarget species during the 1991 September wood duck (Aix sponsa) season. Concealed observers in Kentucky and Tennessee recorded shooting activities of 88 hunting groups during the September wood duck season to determine if hunters discriminated between wood ducks and nontarget species during one-half hour before sunrise versus one-half hour after sunrise. A total of 424 single or flocks of waterfowl passed within shotgun range of observed hunters. Wood ducks comprised over 74% of the total shooting opportunities in both states. Shots at nontarget species were recorded on 4 and 10 occasions in Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively. Nontarget species represented <4% of the total harvest observed in our study. The number of times nontarget species were shot at varied by state (P ≤ 0.05) but not by time period. Hunters in Kentucky and Tennessee were able to discriminate between wood ducks and other protected waterfowl during the pre-sunrise period. Continuation of pre-sunrise shooting is recommended.

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