Youth Waterfowl and Regular Season Canada Goose Hunts Begin Sept. 16 in Wisconsin

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Youth Waterfowl and Regular Season Canada Goose Hunts Begin Sept. 16 in WisconsinMADISON – Regular season Canada goose hunting in the Horicon and Collins zones will again begin on Sept. 16 this year. Modified from previous years, the 2008 regular season in the Exterior zone will not open until Saturday, Sept. 20, which also marks the start of the two- day Youth Waterfowl Hunt.

“Depending on fall weather conditions, goose hunters in Wisconsin should have a good season,” says Kent Van Horn, waterfowl ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Van Horn says the total spring population estimate for the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP) of Canada geese that migrates through Wisconsin and other Midwestern states was 626,358, larger than in 2007 and about 4 percent above the 1989-2007 average. “This indicates the MVP Canada geese from the last two years of good production will be in the fall flight.

However, surveys also found poor nesting conditions this spring resulting in a breeding population that was down from 2007, which, Van Horn notes, will result in fewer young of the year geese in this flight.

Horicon zone now has two periods
In response to hunter input, Van Horn says, the Horicon zone Canada goose season for 2008 was simplified to two time periods, which also provides more hunting days.

The first period, “H1” runs from Sept. 16- Nov. 2 and the second period, “H2” runs from Nov. 3- Dec. 16. Hunters who applied for the Horicon zone will receive six harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese.

The thee time periods in the Collins zone are: C1: Sept. 16- Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 at 9 a.m.- Oct. 5; C2: Oct. 6- Oct. 26; C3: Oct. 27- Nov. 21. Hunters who applied for the Collins zone will receive six harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese.

The Exterior zone hunt runs from Sept. 20 through Dec. 13 in the north. The south zone has a split: It runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 12, closes, and then reopens Oct. 18 through Dec. 18. The Mississippi River subzone runs Oct. 4 through 12 and Oct. 18 through Jan. 1.

“This is the second year of a five-year trial period in which the Exterior Canada goose zone will have a stable season length of 85 days and a 2 bird daily bag limit,” Van Horn says.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt
This year’s Youth Waterfowl hunt will be held on Sept. 20 and 21; regular season bag limits and hunting hours apply.

“This special hunt offers youth age 12 through 15 the opportunity to learn skills from an adult mentor without the pressure encountered during the regular season,” Van Horn says. “In Wisconsin, 79 percent of waterfowl hunters have introduced someone new to the sport and are encouraged to continue mentoring with this great opportunity to introduce a son, daughter, relative, or neighbor to the tradition of waterfowl hunting.”

Participants are reminded that they need to be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP), a federal program that helps the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitor the harvest of migratory bird species by randomly selecting a sample of HIP registered hunters and asking them to participate in a harvest survey. HIP registration is free and available at all locations where hunting licenses are sold. Hunters are also reminded they are only allowed to hunt geese in the zone for which they possess a goose tag.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, DNR Migratory Game Bird ecologist – (608) 266-8841 or James Christopoulos (608) 261-6458