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Pennsylvania Waterfowl

Waterfowl Hunting and 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 made by mid-April and included in the annual Hunting & Trapping Digest.

Each year the Game Commission seeks input on proposed waterfowl seasons. Comments submitted during the comment period on the 2023-24 proposed waterfowl seasons can be found here.

The 2020 waterfowl survey results were used to inform the proposals.

Waterfowl & Migratory Game Bird Seasons & Bag Limits and Hunting Hours - 2022-23 Hunting & Trapping Digest 
September Goose Season Restricted Areas
Federal Waterfowl Regulations

Goose Blind Applications: 
  • All applications will be made through
  • Learn about Special Hunt opportunities and applications.
  • Middle Creek: Shooting days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with the exception of the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day, which is open only to youth with the required permit. The area is CLOSED on Christmas Day, December 25th and New Year's Day, January 1st. For more information, contact
  • Pymatuning: Shooting days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The area is CLOSED on Christmas Day, December 25th and New Year's Day, For more information, contact

STOP Aquatic Hitchhikers - Tips on cleaning your gear
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)
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 

Waterfowler's Code Of Conduct 

Life Jacket SafetyNovember 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

Avian Influenza

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.

Wetlands and Waterfowl

Waterfowl Use of Wetland Complexes (PDF)
USFWS National Wetlands Inventory
Canada Geese
Puddle Ducks (PDF)
Coots (PDF)
Diving Ducks
Snow Goose
Tundra Swans

Waterfowl Conservation

Winter Duck Banding part of a national effort (blog post 03/19) 
Pennsylvania Waterfowl Population Monitoring Reports (PDF): 2015
Pennsylvania Waterfowl Banding Reports (PDF): 2015
USFWS Waterfowl Status Reports (PDFs): 2016, 2015, 2014
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)

Related Links

USFWS Migratory Bird Program
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited Pennsylvania Homepage
Waterfowl USA
Delta Waterfowl
Susquehanna River Waterfowlers Association
Northwest Pennsylvania Duck Hunters' Association