(Bert de Tilly)

The start date for waterfowl season in Units 1-4 will now alternate to allow hunters in different regions to target different species.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will announce a change to the waterfowl season for Units 1-4 this year.

In odd years, the season will start earlier. This year is an odd year, so the season starts September 1st and ends December 16th. On even years, the season will run from September 16th to December 31st like usual.

The alternating dates are a compromise.

“We don’t have the leeway to break up Southeast Alaska. We have to keep them all the same,” said Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Carl Koch.

He says hunters in the Upper Lynn Canal  have advocated for an earlier season in the past. But the state’s Board of Game is bound by federal regulations when it comes to migratory waterfowl.

International agreements managed by the Pacific Flyway Council give states only so many hunting days and hunting regions.

“The folks up in Haines have been asking for an earlier season for a few years,” Koch said.

“And the folks down in Ketchikan would prefer a later season. Some of that has to do with the species they want to target.”

The earlier season will give Haines hunters access to waterfowl with earlier migrations, such as teal and pintail. The later season allows hunters further South to target later migrating fowl like Sea Ducks.