The policy team at Delta Waterfowl has issued their update for June. Check out what is happening across the US and Canada for duck hunters.

Policy for Ducks and Duck Hunters – June

The Duck Hunters Organization is hard at work securing the future of waterfowl hunting across the United States and Canada. Check in on the status of issues across all four flyways, including those affecting your duck hunting.

  • California Considering Gun/Ammo Tax: Lawmakers in California are again trying to place additional taxes on law-abiding sportsmen and women on the sale firearms and ammunition to fund measures to protect against gun violence. Assembly Bill 28 would place an additional 11 percent excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition, similar to the Pittman-Robertson Act. But instead of funding critical conservation and wildlife management efforts at the state level, funds would go towards gun-violence prevention.

Assembly Bill 28 passed the California Assembly 56-17 on May 25 and is now being considered in the Senate. Delta Waterfowl worked alongside our hunting and conservation partners in 2022 to help defeat this misguided legislation, and we are doing the same again in 2023. Want to make your voice heard on the issue? Try using our Duck Hunters Action Alert System to send an email to your California lawmakers opposing Assembly Bill 28.

  • Canada Bill C-21 Update: On June 5, Delta Waterfowl staff attended and participated in the Conservative Outdoor Symposium hosted by the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus in Ottawa. Several topics were discussed including hunting and firearms legislation (Bill C-21). Following the symposium, our staff attended the Conservative Wild Game Garden Party which was hosted by the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, the Honorable Pierre Poilievre. Delta Waterfowl was one of approximately 80 stakeholder groups/organizations in attendance.

Staff engaged in countless discussions with Members of Parliament from across Canada as well as with the other stakeholder groups and organizations throughout the day/evening.

On June 6, Delta Waterfowl staff met with two Liberal Members of Parliament from rural ridings as well as the Senior Advisor for the Office of the Minister of Public Safety. The meeting was to discuss Bill C-21 and other important topics such as the need for sustainable federal funding for fish, wildlife, and conservation related initiatives.

During this meeting, our staff was successful in securing verbal confirmation that semi-automatic firearms with tubular magazines (i.e., shotguns) will NOT be captured in the new definition of a prohibited firearm. Public Safety Canada will be sending us this confirmation in writing as well. Staff also reiterated the need/importance for a strong hunting representation on any future Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (which will be formed shortly). This message echoed the letter we sent to the Minister of Public Safety of Canada a couple of weeks ago.

  • Swan Lake Facing Waterfowl Hunting Closures: On June 6, staff from the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in central Missouri released a statement announcing they will be “suspending its waterfowl hunting program indefinitely due to shortages in staffing and workload demands.” Delta Waterfowl recognizes and appreciates the staffing shortages that face the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as a whole—and the National Wildlife Refuge System in particular—and this is an issue that Delta has been working to address head on.

However, we also recognize the role Swan Lake plays in the region and the flyway for not only waterfowl and other migratory birds, but for waterfowl hunters as well. Losing hunting access to this highly sought-after National Wildlife Refuge with less than 100 days before major waterfowl seasons kick off around the country is not ideal.

Delta Waterfowl staff has already had several conversations with refuge staff and will be working with United States Fish and Wildlife Service leadership and our conservation partners in the coming weeks to find a productive path towards helping to reopen access for this duck season and the future.

  • Ontario Canada Update: On June 7, Delta Waterfowl staff travelled to Peterborough where they met with the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission to seek support with several items. The priority topics included:
    • The need for provincial oversight in municipal by-law implementation when municipalities attempt to restrict hunting, trapping, and/or recreational shooting through a discharge of firearm and/or noise by-law.
    • The need to have the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry automatically get involved/engaged any time a municipality is creating, reviewing, or amending a by-law which will restrict hunting, trapping, and/or recreational shooting.

This potential regulation change is just starting to go through the formal rule-making process, and Delta Waterfowl staff have already visited with KDWP staff to voice concerns and talk through other potential solutions and ideas. We will continue to engage on this topic and keep our members and duck hunters in the region informed on how they can best make their voices heard throughout the process.

  • Addressing Nova Scotia Sunday Hunting Prohibitions: Delta Waterfowl staff recently met with the Executive Director, Forestry and Wildlife for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, and other senior staff in Nova Scotia to discuss Sunday hunting prohibitions, something that Delta Waterfowl works on removing in all jurisdictions across the United States and Canada.

Join Delta’s Duck Hunter Action Alert System to stay up to date with issues affecting your flyway, get in touch with your local officials, and make your voice heard. Sign up HERE.

Canvasbacks fly through the air to their next destination.