Missouri hunters will have the same number of days to hunt doves and most other early-migrating birds this year. As last year, however, the length of teal season -- or whether there will be an early teal season at all -- won't be known until the Missouri Department of Conservation gets results of population surveys now under way.
At its meeting June 3, the Conservation Commission approved frameworks identical to last year's for most early migratory bird hunting seasons. They include:
* Dove -- Sept. 1 through Nov. 9. Includes mourning, Eurasian collared and white- winged doves. Daily limit of 12 in the aggregate. Possession limit 24.
* Sora and Virginia Rails -- Sept. 1 through Nov. 9. Daily and possession limit of 25 in the aggregate.
* Common Snipe -- Sept. 1 through Dec. 16. Daily limit of eight. Possession limit 16.
* American Woodcock -- Oct. 15 through Nov. 28. Daily limit three. Possession limit six.
The population status of the blue-winged teal will not be known until late June. If the blue-winged teal breeding population index is below 3.3 million, teal season will be closed. If the population index is at least 3.3 million but less than 4.7 million, there will be a nine-day teal season Sept. 11 through 19 with a daily limit of four and possession limit of eight. If the population index is 4.7 million or greater there will be a 16-day season Sept. 11 through 26 with the same limits.
The commission also approved changes and clarifications to the Wildlife Code of Missouri, effective March 1, 2005. These include reducing the statewide daily limit on trout and the daily limit in trout parks from five to four. Further details of regulation changes will be outlined in the 2005 hunting and fishing regulation guide books, available next year