(UNDATED) - The first changes in Indiana's waterfowl hunting zones in more than 25 years will be in effect for the start of the regular waterfowl seasons this fall.
There still will be three zones, but they will be renamed as North, Central and South. The South Zone will represent a significant geographic expansion and replace the previous Ohio River Zone.
Changes to the zone boundaries are designed to improve hunting opportunities by better relating duck migration, and therefore season timing, to the geography of the state, said DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps.
The North Zone boundary is essentially unchanged, with the exception of moving Roush Fish & Wildlife Area into the North. The North Zone boundary segregates the natural lakes and wetlands part of the state into its own zone.
The North Zone boundary follows 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 S.R. 5; and east along S.R. 124 to the Ohio border.
The Central Zone is that part of Indiana south of the North Zone boundary and north of the South Zone boundary.
The South Zone boundary follows a line extending east from the Illinois border along U.S. 40; south along U.S. 41; east along S.R.58; south along S.R. 37 to Bedford; and east along U.S. 50 to the Ohio border.
The South Zone extends north to Terre Haute and includes all or parts of 29 counties. It takes in DNR-managed properties such as Fairbanks Landing, Glendale, Sugar Ridge and Wabashiki FWAs; and Hardy and Patoka lakes.
"Changing zone lines in southern Indiana will allow us to capture a fundamental geographic split by bunching the lower Wabash River, as well as much of the White and Muscatatuck rivers, with the Ohio River in the southernmost zone," Phelps said.
The new zones were derived by looking at not only geography, but also at climate patterns and, most importantly, long-term waterfowl migration data.
These new zones will be in effect for regular duck, coot and merganser seasons, as well as regular goose seasons.
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