Migratory Game Bird Regulations
Residents & Nonresidents: A hunting license (see Licenses & Permits) or proof of exemption. In addition, all hunters, unless otherwise exempt, must carry afield the HIP permit (see Special Licenses & Permits for HIP permit information.)
Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp)
Federal law requires that every waterfowl hunter 16 and older must carry on their person a valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, signed in ink across the face. These are available for $25 at U.S. post offices, or for $27 at any Oklahoma license dealer as well as at wildlifedepartment.com. “Waterfowl” refers to ducks, mergansers and geese only. No federal duck stamp is required for coot or sandhill crane hunting. Valid July 1 through the following June 30.
Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting License (waterfowl stamp)
Every resident 16 years of age and over and every nonresident (regardless of age) must have in their possession an Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting License while hunting waterfowl, unless exempt. Licenses are available from any Oklahoma license dealer. Licenses are also available at wildlifedepartment.com (a $3 convenience fee will be applied to your total). “Waterfowl” refers to ducks, mergansers and geese only. No state waterfowl license is required for coot or sandhill crane hunting. Valid July 1 through the following June 30.
Sportsmen exempt from the Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting License include:
- Residents under 16 years of age.
- Residents age 65 or older.
- Oklahoma resident lifetime hunting, resident lifetime combination, senior citizen lifetime hunting or senior citizen lifetime combination and lifetime disabled veterans license holders.
- Resident landowners hunting on their own land.
- Anyone holding a Lifetime Oklahoma Duck Stamp.
All crane hunters must possess a $3 sandhill crane permit (valid July 1 to the following June 30). Permits are available from any Oklahoma hunting license dealer. Permits also are available free of charge at wildlifedepartment.com.
Unless specified otherwise, the possession limit is one daily bag limit for anyone who has hunted for one day. The possession limit increases to two daily bag limits for anyone who has hunted for two days. The possession limit increases to three daily bag limits for anyone who has hunted for three days. No one may possess more than three daily bag limits at any time.
Seasons on public lands may vary from statewide seasons. Consult public hunting lands special regulations on Special Area Regulations.
One-half hour before official sunrise to official sunset, unless otherwise provided.
Legal Means of Taking
Shotgun (conventional or muzzleloading) archery equipment or legal raptors and as otherwise provided under General Hunting Regulations.
For hunter orange requirements, see General Hunting Regulations.
No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun slug, shotgun larger than a 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, in the magazine and chamber combined, unless otherwise provided.
- From or by means, aid, or use of a sink box (a low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.)
- From or with the aid or use of a vehicle or other motor-driven land conveyance, or any aircraft, except that paraplegics and single- or double-amputees of the legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. Paraplegic means an individual afflicted with paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement of both legs usually due to disease of or injury to the spinal cord.
- From or by means of any motorboat or sailboat 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. All live, tame or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such tame birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl.
- Using records or tapes of migratory bird calls, or sounds or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls, unless otherwise provided.
- By driving, rallying, or chasing birds with any motorized conveyance or any sailboat to put them in range of the hunters.
- By the aid of baiting on or over any baited areas 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 attractant for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Agriculture 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.
Field Possession Limit
No person shall possess more than one daily bag limit, tagged or not tagged, while in the field or while returning from the field to one’s vehicle, hunting camp, home, etc.
All downed 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 hunter’s name, signature and address, total number of birds involved by species and the dates such birds were killed.
Tagging is required if the birds are being transported by another person for the hunter, or if the birds have been left for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment, or taxidermy services.
Possession of Live Birds
Wounded birds shall be immediately killed and included in the daily limit.
No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with the name and address of the person sending the birds, the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.
No person shall completely field dress any migratory game bird (except doves and band-tailed 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 migratory bird preservation facility.
For information regarding the importation of migratory birds killed in another country, hunters should consult 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.
Hunting in Two States
A hunter who hunts in two states having separate daily limits, may not exceed the largest number of birds that can legally be taken in one of the states in which they take birds.
Violations of state migratory game bird regulations are also violations of federal regulations.
For a more complete summary of federal regulations, visit wildlifedepartment.com.
Federal regulations related to migratory game birds are located in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Caution: more restrictive regulations may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open to public hunting. For additional information of federal regulations, contact Resident Agent-In-Charge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, (405) 715-0617.
Nontoxic Shot Regulations
All waterfowl (ducks, mergansers and geese) and coot hunting is restricted to use of federally approved nontoxic shot in all areas of the state. Unless otherwise provided, all shotgun hunting on state wetland development units and state waterfowl refuges is restricted to federally approved nontoxic shot only. Possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl or coots and for all shotgun hunting on state wetland development units and state waterfowl refuges is prohibited. For more information on federally approved nontoxic shot types, see https://www.fws.gov
Report Federal Bands
If you have found or harvested a banded bird, please report it at www.reportband.gov. You’ll need the band number, or numbers, if the bird has more than one band. You’ll also be asked where, when and how you recovered the bird. Your contact information will be requested in case there are any questions. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Bird Banding Lab will email you a certificate of appreciation that includes information about the sex, age and species of the bird, and where and when it was banded. You may keep the band. Please note: Even if the band you recover is inscribed with a 1-800 telephone number you can only report it at reportband.gov.
Waterfowl Hunting Blinds on Reservoirs
- Waterfowl hunting blinds constructed on public lands are of two types: Seasonal blinds, which are constructed by a hunter, permitted by the Department and at a Department approved designated location and used throughout the current hunting season. Daily blinds constructed for use on any given day and removed at the end of the day’s hunt. Daily blinds would include boat blinds, layout blinds, panel blinds and/or any other blind constructed from natural material that is removed at the end of the day’s hunt.
- Daily blinds only are allowed on Altus-Lugert, Arbuckle, Birch, Broken Bow, Chouteau (L&D 17), Copan, Fort Cobb, Heyburn, Hugo, Hulah, Kaw, Keystone, Newt Graham (L&D 18), Mountain Park, Oologah, Optima, Pine Creek, Robert S. Kerr (L&D 15), Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Wister reservoirs.
- Hunters wishing to construct seasonal blinds in Oklahoma where blinds are permitted must first obtain a permit. Permits are not required for daily blinds. Daily blinds may only be constructed or used on reservoirs open to waterfowl hunting, unless specifically prohibited.
- Seasonal or daily blinds can be constructed on Eufaula, Fort Gibson, W.D. Mayo (L&D 14) and Webbers Falls (L&D 16) reservoirs.
- Seasonal blind permits are issued by a drawing, annually for Eufaula, Fort Gibson, W.D. Mayo (L&D 14) and Webbers Falls (L&D 16) reservoirs. The drawings will be held at the Porter Office at 9097 N 34th St West, Porter, OK 74454 on Sept. 16, 2023. All participants are urged to pre-register for their desired lake at GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com, but in-person registration will be available for those unable to do so.
The schedule will be as follows:
- Ft. Gibson – 7 AM check-in and registration, 7:30 drawing
- Eufaula – 9 AM check-in and registration, 9:30 drawing
- Webbers Falls – 11 AM check-in and registration, 11:30 drawing
- W.D. Mayo – 12:30 pm check-in and registration, 1 pm drawing
Contact the respective Wildlife Department representative for more information.
Eufaula – JD Ridge, (918) 617-1113
Ft. Gibson and Webbers Falls –
Brett Thompson, (918) 625-3910
W.D. Mayo – Chris Parker, (918) 721-2990
- In some cases, seasonal blind permits remain after the drawing. Contact the biologist or game warden for the area of interest to see if any permits are available after the drawings.
- Applicants for seasonal blind permits must be at least 18 years old on the day of the permit issuance and possess a valid hunting license, HIP permit, Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation stamp (federal duck stamp) and a valid Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting license (state duck stamp), unless exempt.
- All individuals wanting a seasonal blind permit must appear in person at the appropriate permit drawings. No person may obtain a seasonal blind permit for more than one reservoir.
- Permit holders must have their permit number and their first and last name conspicuously displayed in the blind. The information must be clearly legible throughout the waterfowl season.
- Seasonal blinds must be constructed within 25 yards of the location designated by the hunter on the official map approved by the Department. No seasonal blinds shall be constructed within 250 yards of another seasonal blind and no daily blind shall be constructed or used within 250 yards of an occupied seasonal blind.
- Seasonal blinds must be constructed at least two (2) weeks before opening day of waterfowl season, otherwise the blind location may be reissued to another licensed hunter on a first come, first serve basis. All seasonal blinds must be removed by March 15 of each year. Blinds remaining after this date may become the property of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
- Seasonal blind permit holders will have priority use on said blind each day until 1/2 hour before official sunrise (legal shooting time). Permit holders claiming priority use before this time must be prepared to furnish identification to ensure priority use. After this time, unoccupied blinds will be available to other hunters. Blinds must not be locked.
- Failure to comply with regulations may result in forfeiture of privilege to obtain a permit for constructing seasonal blinds during the forthcoming year.
Youth, Veteran & Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities
Help the youth, veterans and active military members of Oklahoma get involved in the sport of waterfowl hunting. Take a kid, veteran and/or active military member with you on your next hunt, or encourage them to participate in the special opportunities below.
Youth, Veteran & Active Military Waterfowl Days
- ZONES 1 & 2: Nov. 4 & Feb. 3.
- Panhandle counties: Sept. 30 & Feb. 3.
These days are special waterfowl hunting opportunities for youths, veterans and active military members providing two additional days outside of the regular waterfowl season. Youth hunters must be 15 or younger. An adult must accompany the youth hunter into the field. The accompanying adult must be 18 or older and hunter education certified or exempt, regardless of whether the youth is hunter education certified. This adult cannot hunt ducks, mergansers or coots, unless also qualifying as a veteran or other active duty military; but may participate in other open seasons. Veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code) and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may also participate. All species and sex specific limits are the same as during the regular seasons.
ODWC Guided Youth Waterfowl Hunts
These guided hunts offer the opportunity to experience the joys of waterfowling to youths who don't have a mentor who hunts waterfowl.
- Dates: Set by hunter and guide.
- Locations: Fort Cobb State Park, Fort Gibson Lake, Hackberry Flat WMA, Keystone Lake, Packsaddle WMA, Vann's Lake.
- Required Equipment: All equipment, including gun and ammunition, will be provided.
- Age: Applicants must be 12 to 15 years of age, have proof of successfully completing a certified hunter education course, and have an adult guardian who can accompany them on the hunt (guardian is not allowed to hunt).
- Application Deadline: Nov. 5.
- How To Apply: Apply online at wildlifedepartment.com.
For more information, contact Jason Rockwell, Migratory Bird Technician, at [email protected].