Policy for Ducks and Duck Hunters – September

The policy team at Delta Waterfowl has issued their update for September. Check out what is happening across the US and Canada for duck hunters as Delta works to benefit ducks like this Wood Duck in Kildonan Park, Winnipeg and the duck hunters that love them.

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 Gun and Ammo Tax Headed to Governor’s DeskCalifornia Assembly Bill 28, legislation to establish an 11% tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition in California to fund “gun violence prevention” programs, passed both chambers of the California legislature recently and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Delta Waterfowl has been actively opposing this legislation for months, sending multiple action alerts to members and duck hunters in California asking them to contact their lawmakers. If signed into law, it will unjustly tax law-abiding sportsmen and women and impact California state-based conservation funding. Urge Governor Newsom to VETO this misguided legislation here.

Canadian Waterfowl Committee Meetings: Delta Waterfowl policy staff will be participating in the Ontario Waterfowl Advisory Committee meeting later this month and the Atlantic Migratory Game Bird Technical Committee meeting in October.

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?: The City of Decatur in Alabama is currently considering several options for a major infrastructure project that would construct a bridge over the Tennessee River directly through Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area in Limestone County, impacting hunting access and opportunity. Delta Waterfowl staff and volunteers were present at an informational meeting to discuss with city officials.

Maintaining and expanding access to quality public hunting areas is a top priority for not only Delta Waterfowl, but duck hunters at large. Swan Creek is the most widely used wildlife management area in the state of Alabama. Delta Waterfowl sent an action alert to Alabama members allowing them to submit official public comments opposing the routes that most negatively impact hunting access before the October 1 deadline. If you would like to submit comments, click here.

BonusMeateater’s Ryan Callaghan gave Delta Waterfowl and this issue a shout out on his recent “Cal’s Week in Review” podcast.

“Big Win” for Hunting Access: After initially announcing a suspension of the hunting programs in June at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that they are reversing course and reopening the refuge just in time for hunting seasons to start, thanks in large part to Delta Waterfowl’s policy team. Delta worked with refuge staff and USFWS leadership to pitch practical solutions to allow waterfowl hunting access this season and beyond at Swan Lake, while reducing the strain on refuge staff.

Pennsylvania Conservation Funding Crisis: Lawmakers in Pennsylvania recently amended and passed legislation through the Senate that would transfer $150 million—from revenue derived from gas and oil leases on State Game Lands—from the Game Fund to the Clean Streams Fund. House Bill 1300 not only impedes the vital work that the Pennsylvania Game Commission does on behalf of hunters and wildlife, but also jeopardizes the agency’s eligibility for future federal funding.

Delta Waterfowl alerted Pennsylvania members through our Duck Hunters Action Alert System, urged them to contact their lawmakers to oppose this amendment, and further joined several other conservation organizations in voicing our opposition to the language.

City of Port Colborne (Ontario) Discharge Issue: Delta Waterfowl policy staff was recently informed that the City of Port Colborne is reviewing their Discharge of Firearms By-law. Early reports are that the Council is considering further restrictions on recreational shooting on private property and limiting the number of days in which the 60-year-old local conservation club can shoot trap and skeet on their provincially approved ranges. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide our members and duck hunters in this area with updates.

Crowley Lake (California) Access Issue: Residents from Mono County, California recently alerted Delta Waterfowl’s policy staff to an access issue on Crowley Lake in western-central California. Historically, waterfowl hunters have used a portion of Layton Springs Road to access the northern portion of the lake to hunt during the seasons. However, that access point is no longer a public option. Delta quickly coordinated with instate partners including the California Waterfowl Association and drafted a letter to the Mono County Board of Supervisors ahead of their September 12 board meeting, urging them to work together with landowners and partners to provide hunters access to this public lake in the upcoming hunting season.

Lake St. Lawrence (Ontario) Controlled Waterfowl Hunt: The new rules and regulations for the Lake St. Lawrence Controlled Waterfowl Hunt area are now posted on the Parks of the St. Lawrence website. Several changes were made for this season to enhance the hunting opportunities and experiences while attempting to reduce potential areas of conflict with other users. Details can be found here.

Hunt Fish Rule Comments: Delta Waterfowl recently submitted comments to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on this year’s “2023-2024 station-specific hunting and sport fishing regulations” proposal—commonly referred to as the “Hunt Fish Rule.” While Delta was disappointed that more access and opportunity were not offered in this year’s package, we applaud the Service and the Refuge System for continuing to look to provide meaningful access to duck hunters across the country and are committed to working with them going forward to highlight areas important to hunters.

A hunter stands in the silhouette with his shotgun raised in the morning sun. A shell is captured as it is ejected from the chamber.