Prepared by: Kyle Spragens, July 16, 2017 WDFW Waterfowl Section Manager (who prepares these presentations for the citizen Waterfowl Advisory Group (WAG) and for the WDFW Commission). [OP Note: I posted separately here because of the high interest, and will also be posting in the standing thread, WDFW Answers Through the WAG.] 1. Northern Pintail bag-limits: a. Pintail harvest regulation is managed at a national-level; all flyways and states are entering into a 1-pintail bag limit during the 2017-18 waterfowl season. 1. Pacific Flyway is the most liberal in terms of the number of days harvest potential (107-days), but also has the highest concentrations of harvest in primary pintail wintering regions. 2. Pintail harvest in Washington are of mixed breeding area origin. There is no clear biased from Alaska segment of the breeding population. This is supported by band recovery distribution, meaning Washington’s harvest of pintail is influenced by conditions throughout Alaska and Canada… on both the western and eastern sides of the state! 3. Therefore, creating an “intra-flyway (inter-state) differential harvest strategy” would not be supported by the population structure of the species (i.e. pintail are a meta-population, meaning their wintering areas represent inter-mixing of breeding area stocks). 4. The 1-bird bag limit was triggered by the pintail population estimate derived from the 2016 Waterfowl Breeding Population & Habitat Survey (WBPHS), and would have been applied this past season in the former timing of regulatory setting… There is a decision matrix (below) that determines the regulatory strategy for the pintail bag limit; there are three options, L2 = liberal season and 2-bird bag (the max possible), L1 = liberal season with 1-bird daily bag limit, or closure. 5. Last year’s pintail population estimate was 2.62 million, well below the 4 million population objective (dashed line), and we are currently in a 4-year decreasing run of estimates; this estimate puts us in the L1 option by 80,000 birds (or 3%). 6. The Pacific Flyway Study Committee (state and federal technical partnership) is working with the regulatory entities such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other partners to work towards a forecast-type model for pintail that would smooth out the lag in regulatory implementation, but this type of harvest strategy does not exist yet, and will require time to assess and gain support.