Waterfowl/Migratory Birds Regulations

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Waterfowl Season Dates


2019-2020 Season Dates

Bag Limits

Poss. Limits

Mourning Doves

Statewide Sep. 1 Oct. 20 15 * 45 *
Nov. 1 Nov. 17
Dec. 14 Jan. 5, 2020

Sora Rails

Statewide Sep. 1 Nov. 9 25 75

American Woodcock

Statewide Oct. 15 Nov. 28 3 9

Common Snipe

Statewide Sep. 1 Dec. 16 8 24

Special Teal

Statewide ** Sep. 14 Sep. 29 6 18

Ducks, Coots, and Mergansers

North Zone Oct. 19 Dec. 8 *** ***
Dec. 21 Dec. 29
Central Zone Oct. 26 Nov. 3
Nov. 23 Jan. 12, 2020
South Zone Nov. 2 Nov. 3
Nov. 30 Jan. 26, 2020


North Zone Sep. 14 Sep. 22 **** ****
Oct. 19 Nov. 3
Nov. 23 Feb. 9, 2020
Central Zone Sep. 14 Sep. 22
Oct. 26 Nov. 10
Nov. 23 Feb. 9, 2020
South Zone Sep. 14 Sep. 22
Nov. 2 Nov. 24
Nov. 30 Feb. 9, 2020

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days (ducks, geese, mergansers, & coots)



Bag Limits

North Zone Oct. 12-13 Same as Regular Season
Central Zone Oct. 19-20 Same as Regular Season
South Zone Oct. 26-27 Same as Regular Season

State/Federal Regulation Reminders

  • In order to hunt ducks and geese in Indiana, all individuals 16 years and older must have an Indiana hunting license, an Indiana waterfowl stamp privilege and a free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation number, plus a federal duck stamp. Federal duck stamps are available at most post offices and at fws.gov/duckstamps. State waterfowl stamp privileges are available from hunting and fishing license vendors and online by going to INHuntFish.com
  • Indiana enforces all federal migratory bird laws. Violating any provision of a state law regarding federally protected migratory birds is also a violation of federal law.
  • Migratory gamebirds may be hunted from a motorboat provided it is beached, resting at anchor, tied to a stationary object, or without motion other than that imparted by wind and current acting upon the hull, or hand-operated oars or paddles.
  • Hunters may retrieve dead or injured birds by hand or from a motorboat under power but may NOT shoot from a boat under power or in motion due to motor power.
  • Migratory gamebirds in a hunter’s possession must have one fully feathered wing or head attached to the carcass for identification when the hunter is in the field or traveling from the field to home.
  • All migratory gamebirds killed or crippled shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.
  • No person shall give, put or leave any migratory gamebirds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information:
    • The hunter’s signature.
    • The hunter’s address.
    • The total number of birds involved, by species.
    • The dates such birds were killed.
  • No person or business shall receive or have in custody any migratory gamebirds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.
  • Shooting hours for geese and ducks (except for teal season) is one half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Harvest Information Program (HIP)

HIP is a joint effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies.

The program is designed to derive harvest estimates for migratory gamebirds nationwide. Once harvest information is gathered, the information is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and states to ensure decisions regarding migratory gamebird hunting seasons are based on sound scientific evidence.

All hunters in Indiana, including those exempt from purchasing a license, must register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting coots, doves, ducks, mergansers, gallinules, geese, snipe, sora rails or woodcock.

Hunters must register at wildlife.IN.gov or by calling 866-671-4499 and providing the information requested. At the end of the registration, the hunter is given a validation number to record on his or her license. This number is valid from the date of registration through the close of the last current migratory bird hunting season.

Lifetime license holders and those exempt from Indiana license and stamp requirements must also register with HIP.

Hunters need to register for HIP only once each season, not each time they hunt; however, hunters must register in each state in which they hunt.

In addition to providing name and address, hunters are asked questions designed to identify which species they hunted last year and, in some cases, the number of birds they harvested.

Non-Toxic Shot

Hunters are required to use approved non-toxic shot while hunting all waterfowl. Hunters are also required to use non-toxic shot to hunt mourning doves on all DNR properties. Non-toxic shot currently approved for use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are:


copper-clad iron

corrosion-inhibited copper

iron (steel)











Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome, and fluoropolymers on approved non-toxic shot types are allowed. Lead shot plated with copper, nickel or other material does not qualify.

It is illegal to possess shells loaded with anything other than approved non-toxic shot while hunting ducks, geese and coots anywhere in the state.

The use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was banned nationwide in 1991.

It is illegal to possess lead shot while hunting mourning doves on any state-managed property.

Waterfowl Hunting on State Areas

Hunters can apply for reserved waterfowl hunts by completing the reserved waterfowl hunt application online at on.in.gov/reservedhunt

For more information concerning waterfowl hunting on state-owned properties, contact the property.


No person shall take migratory gamebirds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that is incapable of being removed without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sink box (a low, floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  • From any aircraft or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land vehicle, except that paraplegics and single or double amputees of the legs may hunt from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land vehicle.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys. All tame or captive live ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting and confined within an enclosure that substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
  • By driving, rallying or chasing birds with any motorized vehicle or any sailboat to put them in the range of the hunters.
  • By baiting or by hunting on or over any baited area, if the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is baited. Baiting includes the placing of corn, wheat or other grain, salt, or other feed to serve as a lure or attraction for migratory gamebirds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them. It is a separate offense to place, or direct placement of bait, on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing or allowing hunters to take or attempt to take birds. A baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after complete removal of any bait. The maximum federal penalties for hunting over bait are $15,000/6 months jail time and for placing bait are $100,000/1 year jail time. For more information on baiting see wildlife.IN.gov
  • By the use of recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds.


North: Segment of Indiana north of a line extending east from the Illinois border along State Road 18 to U.S. 31; north along U.S. 31 to U.S. 24; east along U.S. 24 to Huntington; southeast along U.S. 224; south along State Road 5; and east along State Road 124 to the Ohio border.

Central: Segment of Indiana south of the North Zone boundary and north of the South Zone boundary.

South: Segment of Indiana south of a line extending east from the Illinois border along I-70; east along National Ave.; east along U.S. 150; south along U.S. 41; east along State Road 58; south along State Road 37 to Bedford; and east along U.S. 50 to the Ohio border.