May 17, 2024

Breaking news - Option for 3 pintail bag limit approved for 2025-2026 season.


New Pintail Model Finally Approved

 According to reports, a new harvest strategy for northern pintail has at last been approved by the Service Regulations Committee that will provide an opportunity for 3-bird bag beginning for the 2025-26 season.  It will also reportedly not significantly increase the likelihood of a closed pintail season.

Recognizing the historic importance of pintail harvest for California hunters and responding to input from our members, for many years CWA has been lobbying federal officials for a more liberal pintail bag limit through trips to Washington DC, participating in Flyway Council meetings, correspondence with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other advocacy. 

 In those discussions, we have emphasized the fact that the last three decades of restrictive regulations on pintail have not resulted in a significant boost in pintail populations, even in years of good precipitation in the U.S. and Canadian prairies.  Rather, changing farming practices, especially in wheat fields favored by nesting pintail, appear to be the main factor limiting pintail populations—not hunter harvest.

Waterfowl surveys conducted throughout the hunting season, including those in the Central Valley and Klamath Basin, also often show that a plurality (and in some cases a majority) of all ducks surveyed are pintail.  More than any other state, hunters in California have been impacted by conservative pintail regulations.

“On behalf of CWA, I’d like to give special thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for leading the charge on the Pintail Working Group, which has been instrumental in moving this issue forward,” said Jake Messerli CEO of California Waterfowl. “This positive development is a testament to the collective efforts of our members, partners, and passionate duck hunters across the country.”

CWA looks forward to reviewing the new pintail model, including the population survey thresholds for achieving a 3-bird limit, when it is available to the public.