Early season for duck and goose hunting begins Friday


The Massachusetts Coastal Region early season duck and goose season began at dawn on Friday, Oct. 13, and ends at sunset Saturday, Oct. 21.

The daily bag may contain no more than six ducks, and no more than four of any species not additionally restricted. Restricted duck species can be found at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife website.

The American Black Duck daily bag limit has been increased to two birds, and the Northern Pintail daily bag limit has been decreased to one bird.

The daily bag limit for geese is three per day.

Farmers and shell fishermen concerned about the damaging effects of a large, non-migratory goose population on Island water bodies and agricultural fields often welcome the sound of booming shotguns in the early fall.

A study by Dr. Stephen H. Jones of the University of New Hampshire Jackson Estuarine Laboratory in Durham, N.H. (“E. coli Ribotyping for Identifying Sources of Fecal Contamination in the Salt Ponds of Martha’s Vineyard”), identified geese and cormorants as significant sources of E. coli bacteria in Trapps, Eel, Farm, and Sengekontacket ponds.

In 2008, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) increased the daily bag limit from five to seven geese in an effort to further reduce the number of geese that have made Massachusetts their year-round home.

According to a history of goose management provided on the DFW website, prior to the 1930s it was unusual for geese to nest in Massachusetts. That is no longer the case.