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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Snow goose conservation season set to open

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Waterfowl hunting is traditionally a winter sport, but goose hunters in Arkansas will have an extra three months to hunt "light geese" (snow geese, blue geese and Ross's geese).

A special snow goose conservation season will open on Feb. 2 and extend through April 25.

It isn't a special hunting season, but a Conservation Order according to Luke Naylor, waterfowl biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. "Whatever you want to call it, the regulations are relaxed because it's important that hunters be allowed to harvest as many snow geese as they can," he said.

There's no daily bag or possession limit on light geese during the Conservation Order, guns do not have to be plugged, electronic calls can be used and shooting hours have been extended to half-an-hour before and after sunset.

The requirements for hunting are a valid hunting license and a special snow goose registration number.

The hunting licenses can be either resident or non-resident. Hunters may get registration numbers, which are free, by calling the AGFC at 800-364-4263 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Naylor said the special snow goose conservation season was initiated several years ago and continues this year in an effort to reduce the snow goose population from present levels. "Snow geese numbers have increased to the point that they're damaging their nesting habitat in the sub-Arctic and Arctic tundra, posing a serious threat to the long-term health of the Arctic ecosystem and its associated wildlife communities.

"The Conservation Order with its relaxed harvest regulations is an attempt to reduce the population to a more healthy level by allowing hunters the opportunity to harvest more geese," he added.

"This is a unique situation for modern-day waterfowl hunters," says Naylor. "Most waterfowl regulations are implemented to protect species from overharvest. With snow geese, the objective is to maximize the harvest, and for exactly the same reason -- to protect the species and other species associated with Arctic tundra habitat," he said.

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