Spring light goose action opens Thursday

Interested participants are reminded that the spring conservation action on “light” geese (snow geese, blue-phased snow geese and the smaller Ross’s goose) will open Thursday and run through Monday, April 30.

The action is allowed under a federal conservation order that permits the take of “light” geese during the spring.

A required spring light goose permit may be obtained through any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) license agent, via telephone at 1 (888) 665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. The permits are free, but there is a $3.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit. No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate.

Customers using the phone will receive a temporary authorization number in lieu of the permit until it is mailed to the applicant. Internet customers will be able to print their own permit when completing the transaction, and will not receive a permit by mail.

Most regulations that are in place during fall waterfowl season also apply during the spring season, including nontoxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations. In addition, all refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons will remain closed during the spring season. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. No daily or possession limits apply. Use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns are allowed.

The conservation order season is in place in an effort to reduce the population of snow geese and Ross’s geese that breed in the Arctic coastal areas and around Hudson Bay. High populations of these birds have caused considerable habitat damage to these fragile ecosystems.

Minnesota has participated in this spring conservation action each year since 2000. Harvest of light geese has varied from a few hundred to several thousand birds each spring.

“Minnesota is on the extreme eastern edge of the spring migration corridor for snow geese through the Upper Midwest,” said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. “In addition, March weather, particularly snow and ice conditions, have a major impact on spring migration, migration routes and migration timing of snow geese in Minnesota. With such a mild winter and lack of snow cover, migration this year could be much earlier than normal.”

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 1 (888) 646-6367.

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