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Federal Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

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In addition to state regulations, these federal rules apply to the taking, possession, transportation and storage of migratory game birds. For a complete summary of federal regulations, visit


No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, except as provided during the COLGS season.
  • From a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the water’s surface).
  • From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor driven land conveyance, or any aircraft.
  • From or by means of any motor or sail boat unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sail furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased.
  • By the use or aid of live decoys.
  • Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls, or sounds, or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls, except as provided during the COLGS season.
  • By driving, rallying, or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sail boat to put them in range of hunters.
  • By the aid of baiting or on or over a baited area where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. A baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after complete removal of any bait. Baiting includes placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Agricultural areas must be prepared in accordance with official recommendations to be legally hunted. It is a separate offense to place or direct placement of bait on or adjacent to an area that causes, induces, or allows another to hunt by the aid of bait on or over a baited area. Hunters are responsible for ensuring that an area has not been baited and should verify its legality prior to hunting. The maximum federal penalties are: for hunting over bait: $15,000/6 months jail, and placing bait: $100,000/1 year jail. For additional information, consult or call a federal game warden at (405) 715-0617.

Closed Season

No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season.

Shooting Hours

No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting as prescribed.

Daily Bag Limit

No person shall take in any one day more than one daily bag limit.

Field Possession Limit

No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit, tagged or not tagged, in the field and when returning from the field to either one’s car or hunting camp, home, etc.

Wanton Waste

All migratory game birds 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 game birds at any place or in the custody of another person unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information.

  1. The hunter’s signature.
  2. The hunter’s address.
  3. The total number of birds involved, by species.
  4. The dates such birds were killed.

Tagging is required if birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services.

Possession of Live Birds

Crippled birds must be immediately killed.


No person shall completely dress any migratory game bird (except doves and bandtailed pigeons) and then transport the birds from the field. The head or one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all such birds while being transported from the field to one’s home or to a commercial facility.


For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult federal regulations 50 CFR 20.61 through 20.66. One fully-feathered wing must remain attached to all migratory game birds being transported between the port of entry and one’s home or to a migratory bird preservation facility. No person shall import migratory game birds killed in any foreign country except Canada, unless such birds are dressed (except as required in 20.63), drawn, and the head and feet are removed. No person shall import migratory game birds belonging to another person.


No persons shall ship migratory game birds unless package is marked on outside with:

  1. The name and address of the person sending the birds.
  2. The name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent.
  3. The number of birds, by species, contained in the package.


More restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For more information on federal regulations, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 2700 Coltrane Place, Suite #4, Edmond, OK 73034, (405) 715-0617. In addition, you can read about federal migratory bird rules at this website:


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