Upstate Duck Season wraps up

Photo contributed

Shown here on the banks of the Hudson River back at the very start of the waterfowl season, is 12-year-old Colin Smith with a hen mallard, drake wood duck, and bluewing teal he bagged while hunting with his grandfather John Smith (left) and his dad Todd. (not shown). It was Colin’s first attempt at bagging ducks on the wing and according to his grandfather, ‘He is hooked!’

The last zone to close in the upstate duck season did so last week. As the sun set on January 3 in the Western Zone, so did the last open season for ducks and coots. That wrapped up duck hunting upstate for 2020-2021. All other zones for ducks had closed in December except for Long Island, which remains open until January 31.

Locally, the duck season got off to a good start beginning with Youth Waterfowl Weekend back in September. Local waterfowler, John Smith, got to take out his grandson for his first Youth Season opener and he reports a great time was had by all.

John sent in the photo this week, proving the hunt a success. Proud grandfather John put it best saying, “The photo shows my 12-year-old grandson, Colin and me with the ducks he bagged on the Saturday of Youth Waterfowl Weekend. His mentor was his father Todd. I supplied the boat, decoys and hot chocolate. He bagged a hen mallard, drake wood duck and bluewing teal. He is hooked!!”

Congratulations to Colin for bagging his first ducks and finally getting to hunt with the big dogs as the time-honored family tradition was successfully passed down!

Duck hunting during the youth season is a good way to introduce new hunters to the sport. The weather is mild, and duck hunting is interactive, leaving little chance to be bored with stuff to do like keeping a constant an eye out for passing and incoming ducks, calling, and identifying game and non-game species. Not to mention a canoe or boat ride, and of course, helping to rig the decoy spread.

An added plus is there’s usually time to talk and interact between flights when hunting from a blind. If you have a youth in your family that might be interested in a hunt like that, it’s never too early to start planning and looking forward to next season.

For Canada Geese, Saturday, January 9 is the last day of the season in the South Zone, which includes Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in our area west of the Hudson, out through the Southern Tier, and up to the north of Buffalo. It also includes WMUs in the lower Hudson Valley.

Canada Goose season on Long Island continuous into February in its Western and Central Zones.

Snow geese, with their generous season and bag limits, stretches way out into March and April throughout the state.

If you would like to plug into snow goose hunt in NY, licensed waterfowl guide, Jordan Davenport says he still has some good dates available to hunt in the Finger Lakes Region in March. Hunting the wary snow goose is no small undertaking. Jordan deploys about 2000 decoys and says rather than remaining static in one spot, he actively seeks where the birds are moving and will pull up stakes and move the elaborate set up wherever they go. The cost is $200/person per day. You can reach Jordan at 518-965-7535 or look him up on Facebook or Instagram.

If you plan on taking advantage of the later goose seasons on your own, it’s a good idea to consult DEC’s website for season dates, bag limits, and requirements so you comply with specific state and federal “manner of taking” regulations.

Happy Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping until next time.

News and Notes

Fur buyer Will be at Shooters Sports on Saturday: Joe Nastke advised the first fur buying event at Shooters Sports in Valatie begins on Saturday January 9th. The buyer will be at the store from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Further dates to be announced.

Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club Trap Shooting: The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club located at 376 Fowler Lake Road in Ghent, announced it now has trap shooting open to the public every Sunday Morning. It starts at 9 a.m. and ends when they either run out of shooters, or the when shooters run out of ammo…

Hunters for the Hungry Fundraising Raffle: The Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation (CCSF), is conducting a second fundraiser in the form of a raffle with all proceeds going to the local “Hunters for the Hungry” venison donation program. This is another great opportunity for the hunting and non-hunting public alike to support this worthy effort with the added chance of winning big money.

Only 100 tickets will be sold at $100 each for a one and only grand prize of $5,000. Tickets are sure to be sold out quickly once again. You can get one by contacting Julia Horst, Vice President of CCSF at 518-567-4302, or send an email to for more information.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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