Vermont Special Snow Goose Harvest Opportunity

Vermont Special Snow Goose Harvest Opportunity

Waterbury, VERMONT – -(OutDoorWire.com)-Hunters have the opportunity to pursue snow geese this spring as a result of a special management action referred to as a “Conservation Order” allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and adopted by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.

The measure was adopted at the recommendation of federal and state wildlife scientists in response to concerns about a growing number of snow geese across North America. Six states in the Atlantic Flyway (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont) will be offering this special spring conservation harvest.

The Vermont conservation order will occur statewide from March 11 through April 15. The daily bag limit is 15 snow geese, and there is no possession limit. All existing waterfowl hunting regulations will apply as well as some additional requirements. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Although permitted by the conservation order, unplugged shotguns and electronic calls will not be allowed in Vermont during 2009.

A special Spring 2009 Snow Goose Harvest Permit is required and is available at no charge on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website (vtfishandwildlife.com). Hunters may also call the Essex Junction Office (802-878-1564) and request a permit. In addition to this permit, a hunter will need a 2009 Vermont hunting license (residents $20, nonresidents $40), Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, a 2008 federal migratory hunting stamp ($15), and a 2008 Vermont migratory waterfowl stamp ($7.50). Hunters can register with the Harvest Information Program by completing Section 3 on their Vermont hunting license application form.

The populations of snow geese in North America collectively referred to as “light geese” have grown to record levels over the past three decades.

“The over abundance of light geese, which nest in far northern regions of North America, is harming their fragile arctic breeding habitat,” according to H. Dale Hall, former Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The damage to the habitat is, in turn, harming the health of the light geese and other bird species that depend on the tundra habitat. Returning the light goose population to sustainable levels is necessary to protect this delicate habitat and every species dependent on it.”

Greater snow geese make up a large share of the light goose populations in the Atlantic Flyway.

“The population of greater snow geese has grown from approximately 50,000 birds in mid-1960s to about one million today,” said Bill Crenshaw, Vermont's waterfowl project biologist. “This increase has resulted in damage to agricultural crops and marsh vegetation in staging and wintering areas from Quebec to North Carolina. The Atlantic Flyway has established a goal of 500,000 greater snow geese to bring populations in balance with their habitat and reduce crop depredation.”

Most spring movement of snow geese in Vermont occurs in late March and early April. In the past, spring seasons in the Atlantic Flyway were required to end by March 10.

Hunters who participate will be required to complete a survey after April 15.

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