Experimental February Canada Goose Season To Be Continued in Indiana
The experimental February Canada goose hunting season that started last year in selected counties in an attempt to better control the population of the breeding waterfowl around urban areas will continue in 2009, as the result of the DNR’s passing a temporary rule.
Counties where geese can be hunted during this season, which runs Feb. 1-15, include Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, La Porte, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko, Noble, Dekalb, Allen, Whitley, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene.
According to Adam Phelps, DNR waterfowl biologist, the February 2008 season was a success.
“We issued permits to over 4,000 hunters, and nearly 3,000 of those hunted,” Phelps said.
Phelps estimated that nearly 5,000 Canada geese were harvested during the season and said that, considering the wild fluctuations in weather that Indiana experienced that month, those results were excellent.
To meet guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 80 percent of the geese harvested during the three-year experimental period must be the giant subspecies of Canada goose. This is the goose that commonly breeds in Indiana and surrounding states.
After the first year, Indiana meets the federal requirements for continuing the late season; however, Phelps said that weather can have a huge effect on harvest, which is why the season must be evaluated over three years.
“I don’t expect it to happen, but we could find out that over a three-year average, we’re harvesting too many northern migrant birds and have to close the season,” he said.