Tricounty News

2008 spring light goose hunting

Minnesota hunters will be allowed to harvest snow geese, including blue-phased and the smaller Ross' geese, this spring under the provisions of a federal conservation order. Since 2000, when Minnesota began participating in the conservation order, the state spring harvest of light geese has varied dramatically from a few hundred to 6,000, depending on weather conditions. Hunting during 2008 will be open from March 1-April 30. "Minnesota is at the extreme eastern edge of the spring migration through the Midwest," said Ray Norrgard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wetland wildlife program leader. "March weather, particularly snow and ice conditions, can have a tremendous effect on the migration routes of light geese." A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained after Feb. 20 at any of the 1,800 Electronic License System agents statewide. Spring light goose permits also will be available by telephone at (888) 665-4236 or online after March 1 at mndnr.gov. No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate. Although the permits are free, there is a $3.50 application fee to cover permit issuing costs. Non-toxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations as well as most regulations that apply to fall goose-hunting seasons also will apply during the spring light goose conservation action. The use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed. Refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons also are closed during the spring conservation action. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day. No daily or possession limits apply. The conservation order is part of an international effort to reduce populations of lesser snow geese, which breed in high Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area. High populations of the birds cause habitat damage on breeding grounds and negatively impact other bird and waterfowl species that breed in the high Arctic. A summary of regulations will be available from license vendors, DNR wildlife offices or by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free (888) 646-6367.