Outdoors

North Dakota's problem makes it goose hunter's mecca

Gaggles of Canada geese with growing goslings were common along the banks of central Montana's Smith River in late June. (Rich Landers)
Gaggles of Canada geese with growing goslings were common along the banks of central Montana's Smith River in late June. (Rich Landers)

WATERFOWLING — North Dakota is opening what looks to be a bountiful hunting season on Canada Geese in mid-August to deal with the flyway's overly successful goose boom.

For the first time, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30 for the early season that begins Aug. 15 and continues through mid-September.

That’s up from limits of eight and 16 during last year’s early season.

The reason for the liberal bag is simple, wildlife managers say:

There’s too many Canada geese out there - way too many, in some cases.

“Canada geese are definitely emerging as one of the Central Flyway’s top priorities up and down the flyway,” said Mike Szymanski, a migratory game bird biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. “It’s not just the Dakotas having issues; they’re superabundant, and prairie Canada has a ton of Canada geese, too.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged with regulating migratory bird seasons, North Dakota’s estimated Canada goose population this spring stood at a whopping 415,000 birds. That’s more than twice the 162,000 Canada geese tallied in the spring of 2000 and five times higher than the state Game and Fish Department’s management goal of 80,000 birds.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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