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Squirrel, waterfowl seasons open Friday, Oct. 2  

Posted September 30, 2020

2020-2021 waterfowl, snipe hunting regulations available online 


PHOENIX — This is the time of year that Arizona’s small game and waterfowl hunters have been waiting for.

In addition to the start of tree squirrel and band-tailed pigeon seasons Friday, hunters can pursue dusky (blue) grouse through Nov. 8 and chukar until Feb. 7, 2021. The season for cottontail rabbit runs through June 30, 2021, and the start of the season for Gambel’s and scaled quail is just around the corner (Oct. 16).

Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), as well as an avid squirrel hunter, expects even better hunting this season than in 2019.

“The second year in a row of wet winters — and not all of it snow in the high country — means that acorns and pine cones should be abundant this fall and provide excellent resources for Abert’s squirrels,” O’Dell said. “They are still rebounding from previous years, but squirrel numbers are turning around quickly in many areas.

“Both the Arizona gray and Mexican fox squirrel populations should also be improving due to the recent wet winter conditions. Squirrel hunting should definitely be better this year.”  

For more information about hunting Arizona’s small game, check out AZGFD’s small game forecast at

Meanwhile, the general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Mountain Zone” (Game Management Units 1-5, 7, 9, 11M, 12A, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County) begin Oct. 2, 2020, and run through Jan. 10, 2021.

AZGFD recently completed a fall waterfowl survey in Units 5B, 6A and 8. While the area received good precipitation in the winter and spring months, the monsoon was disappointing and well below normal over most of the Flagstaff area. Wetlands like Marshall Lake, Prime and Vail are nearly dry and without ducks. Many dirt tanks also are dry throughout the area, but there are still decent waterfowl numbers on some of the bigger waters.  

The majority of waterfowl were on Mormon Lake, JD Dam and Long Lake. Mallards were the most common species observed, and Canada geese were the second-most common species. Overall, most wetlands ranged from poor to fair in terms of waterfowl numbers and available water. The lone exception was Long Lake in Unit 5B-South, which had excellent numbers of birds. Canada geese were observed on Mormon, Scholz and Marshall lakes.

The general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) begin Oct. 23, 2020, and run through Jan. 31, 2021.

The following (excluding scaup) are legal wildlife in both Mountain and Desert zones: ducks, including mergansers, coots and common moorhens (gallinules); white geese (snow, blue and Ross’); and dark geese (Canada, cackling, Brant and white-fronted).  

Scaup can be harvested in the Mountain Zone from Oct. 17, 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021, and in the Desert Zone from Nov. 7, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2021.

All waterfowl hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license and state migratory bird stamp, as well as a federal migratory bird stamp. All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must also possess a federal migratory bird stamp.

Need a license? Visit Keep in mind that a combination hunt and fish license is only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. As a reminder, a youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes the privileges associated with the state migratory bird stamp.  

AZGFD has posted the 2020-2021 Arizona Waterfowl and Snipe Regulations at For more information about waterfowl hunting, visit

Note: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently expanded hunting opportunities on national wildlife refuges for the 2020-2021 seasons. Hunting opportunities are authorized and provided on USFWS-managed lands in accordance with federal, state and tribal (where applicable) regulations and seasons. For questions on hunting opportunities, consult current refuge hunt regulations.