Waterfowl hunting season begins

  • Published
  • By Lucas Oligschlaeger
  • 49th Civil Engineer Squadron, Natural Resources Biologist
It's that time of the year to check the waders for holes that need patching to break out the insulated underwear and practice our hail calling. Waterfowl hunting season began Oct. 31 here.

Those of us who enjoy a day afield -- even during the nastiest weather that mother nature can throw at us -- know that I am not talking about a Halloween costume, but that time-honored ritual of getting fired up for another duck season full of stories about great retrieves, impossible shots, missed opportunities and dreams of whistling wings.

We tell such stories over and over as we assess the damage from last year's season on the decoy spread, ramp up the fetching exercises with the canine hunting companion; and generally become stir-crazy until that opening day sunrise over the marsh.

Well, for many of us "crazy duck hunters" in of the base, Lake Holloman Wildlife Area is where the reward for all the preparation comes to fruition.

Please be safe, enjoy the hunting experience and introduce someone else to the excitement that only comes from being outdoors at the first hints of dawn on the horizon.

The following are the hunting regulations in effect at the Lake Holloman Wildlife area during the migratory bird hunting season as established by the state of New Mexico:

· The south unit of Lake Holloman is the only area open to waterfowl hunting, except in cases of installation commander approved hunts for Air Force personnel and guests at Lagoon G. Five zones and map will be available at parking lot kiosk. 

· No Sandhill Crane, upland game, or big game hunting allowed at any time. 

· Hunts will take place on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays from Oct. 31 to Jan. 31, 2010, and possibly on other specified dates at the discretion of the installation commander, shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until 12:00 pm. (See NMGF Small Game Rules for sunrise/sunset table) 

· The following duck species are a rare visitor to the Lake Holloman area: Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Wood Ducks, Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, Common Goldeneye, and mergansers. Hunters are encouraged not to harvest these species, but to report sightings of these species on the bag reporting sheet at the end of the hunt or call 575-572-3931. 

· Bag limits and possession limits are the same as the state regulations for the Central Flyway for migratory waterfowl, to include the seasons for dark geese, light geese, and snipe. 

· All hunters, except those on special military only hunts at Lagoon G, will access the area through the entrance on Highway 70, approximately four miles west of the Holloman Main Gate, at which time each hunter will also sign a wanton waste notice. Next, a hunt coordinator will assign one of five hunting stations on a first come basis or hunt parties will fill out a check-in card and record their card number on the kiosk next to posted markers to indicate which of the five zones they will be hunting that day. 

· Each hunting party will fill out and insert the top portion of the card in the drop box prior to the hunt, keeping the second portion in their possession at all times until the hunt is concluded. Upon the conclusion of the hunt, hunters will record their bag taken by species, sex, and number with the hunt coordinator or each hunting party will indicate their bag on the second portion of the check-in card and insert in the drop box at the kiosk. 

· Hunting parties may have up to four persons, including youth hunters. 

· Hunters must have on them a New Mexico state hunting license which depicts a permit number for the federal mandatory Harvest Information Program, a valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp -- federal duck stamp -- and proof of completion of an approved hunter education course. All other New Mexico and Federal hunting regulations apply. 

· Lagoon G is a special hunt for military personnel and guests only. In addition to other requirements, personnel hunting at this location must have on their person a Lagoon G hunt certificate, proving they have taken the 49th Fighter Wing Safety Office hunter's training. 

· All hunters must stay within their designated hunt zone at all times. This will include situations where a hunting party chooses to move to a different zone that remains unoccupied, in which case the party must change the board at the kiosk to indicate such a change of hunt zone. 

· No fixed or permanent blinds may be constructed or installed in the wildlife area. Portable or temporary blinds must be removed at the end of each hunt day. 

· Each hunter must keep their bag limit separate from those of other members in their hunt party. 

· Hunters may only use plugged shotguns capable of holding no more than three rounds and federally approved non-toxic shot. No more than 30 rounds of shotgun ammunition will be allowed per hunter when entering the hunt area. No rifles, pistols, or crossbows are to be used while participating in the hunt. 

· Hunters are authorized to retrieve downed waterfowl by person, dog, or non-motorized boat. 

· All discharged shotgun shells and other litter must be picked up and packed out. 

· Identify all birds prior to shooting; many threatened and protected birds also utilize the Lake Holloman Area. 

· Report all game violations to 575-572-7171 or 1-800-432-GAME/4268. 

· Please follow all other posted signs and regulations. Your cooperation will ensure that all hunt participants enjoy the hunt.

We hope you have a wonderful hunting experience at the Lake Holloman Wildlife area!