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Waterfowl seasons set to begin

Duck and goose hunters can check out Santa’s delivery of those cold-weather gear items early Monday morning.Seasons reopen for ducks, coots, mergansers, sea ducks, Canada geese and snow geese a half hour before sunrise Monday across the Western Zone, which includes all of Western New York.All these seasons remain open until Jan. 9, but Canada geese hunters have to keep in mind differing bag limits for hunts in the West Central and South areas.West Central, which divides Niagara and Orleans counties, splits Genesee County, dips into the Finger Lakes region and includes most of the Lake Ontario shoreline in New York State, has a three-bird limit during the late Canada goose season. The South area, which extends from the entire Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline east along the Southern Tier and abuts most of the state’s Pennsylvania border, allows for a five-bird daily limit.An additional late Canada goose season will reopen only in that South area from Feb. 25 to March 10, allowing a five-bird daily take.Overall season assessments for ducks have eastern mallard numbers down slightly and resident geese numbers solid, with migrant geese expected to be higher than the count last spring.Snow geese, where flocks gather and migrate, continue to increase and pose harm to wetland habitat areas. For the fourth year, a late season for snow has been set. A 25-bird per day limit exists for the seasons starting Monday to Jan. 9 and Jan. 29 to April 15.

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