Waterfowl Hunting Regulations
Migratory bird hunting seasons and bag limits must conform to frameworks set by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. States select their hunting seasons within these established frameworks. Based on public comments, Game Commission staff annually prepare and present recommended waterfowl and migratory bird seasons, bag limits and related criteria to the USFWS for final approval. Final selections are now made by mid-April and included in the annual Hunting & Trapping Digest along with season and bag limit information for other species.
Waterfowl & Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Bag Limits - 2017-18 Hunting & Trapping Digest (Use the page arrows to navigate to related information.)
September Goose Season Restricted Areas
Federal Waterfowl Regulations
Migratory Bird Hunting Hours
Federal Non Toxic Shot Regulations for Hunting Waterfowl and Coots
Avian Influenza Disease Profile
USDA Guidance for Hunters (PDF)
General safety guidelines for hunters and handling wildlife.
- Do not handle or eat sick game
- Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area
- Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game
- When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap or disinfectant and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that came in contact with game
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals
- All game should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F
- For the hunting dog, these strains have not been shown to infect dogs; however, things can obviously change with influenza viruses at any time.
- Applications will be accepted electronically through Sept. 1 and selected through a public drawing at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area on Sept. 13, 2017 and the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area on Sept. 16, 2017.
- Specific hunting dates are listed in the electronic application.
- Middle Creek: Shooting days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with the exception of the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, which is open only to youth with the required permit.
- Pymatuning: Shooting days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the exception of the Veterans with Disabilities Hunt on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, open only to those with the required permit and the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, open only to those with the required permit. The area is CLOSED on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25. and New Year's Day, Monday Jan. 1.
- Additional information can be found in the Digest in the Goose Blind Application section.
STOP Aquatic Hitchhikers - Tips on cleaning your gear
Search for Duck Band Data
Snow Goose Conservation Hunt
Federal Duck Stamp Information
Harvest Information Program (HIP)
DU Waterfowl ID Gallery
Black Duck Adaptive Management Strategy Hunter Fact Sheet (PDF)
Migratory bird hunting activity and harvest during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 hunting seasons (PDF)
2011 Pennsylvania Waterfowl Hunter Attitudes Survey (PDF)
2011 Pennsylvania Waterfowl Hunter Survey Report (PDF)
2010 Pennsylvania Waterfowl Data Document (PDF)
Waterfowler's Code of Conduct
November 1 to April 30 all boaters (including waterfowl hunters) must wear a life jacket on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak during these cold-weather months. Cold-water shock is a major factor in boating fatalities. People wearing a life jacket when exposed to cold water gain life-saving advantages of insulation from the cold, buoyancy and reduced risk of aspiration of water. Visit the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission's website for more information on the mandatory cold-weather life jacket requirement and life jacket safety
Wetlands and Waterfowl
Waterfowl Use of Wetland Complexes (PDF)
USFWS National Wetlands Inventory
Puddle Ducks (PDF)
Diving Ducks (PDF)
Tundra Swans (PDF)
Pennsylvania Waterfowl Population Monitoring Reports (PDF): 2015
Pennsylvania Waterfowl Banding Reports (PDF): 2015
USFWS Waterfowl Status Reports (PDFs):
Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, 1955-2015 (PDF)
Waterfowl Management in North America
Black Duck Joint Venture
Black Duck Management Strategy in North America (PDF)
Atlantic Flyway Council
Atlantic Flyway Waterfowl Harvest & Population Survey Data (PDF)
Atlantic Flyway Breeding Waterfowl Plot Survey (PDF)
North American Waterfowl Management Plan
Atlantic Coast Joint Venture
Hunting for a Greater Good (PDF)
Estimates from the 2016 Waterfowl Breeding Population & Habitat Survey (PPT)
USFWS Migratory Bird Program
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Ducks Unlimited Pennsylvania Homepage
Susquehanna River Waterfowlers Association
Northwest Pennsylvania Duck Hunters' Association