Abundant snow geese back on the menu for hunters through April 15
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:04 pm

A special snow goose harvest program has extended the hunting season through April 15.

This special harvest is in addition to the regular hunting season which runs from Oct. 1 through Jan. 15. Previously, a special season would not have opened until March 11, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation applied for and got approval for the changes to take effect immediately

The expanded special season will increase hunter opportunity to harvest snow geese throughout the winter and early spring, when they are most abundant in New York, according to the DEC. The special season was established in 2008 to help reduce environmental damage caused by the overabundance of snow geese in eastern North America.

Snow geese are an arctic breeding goose species that reached record high population levels in North America in recent years, from approximately 50,000 birds in the 1960s to more than one million birds in recent years.

Wildlife agencies, ecologists and environmental organizations have expressed concern about the impacts that overabundant snow geese are having on arctic ecosystems, coastal wetlands and agricultural crops. In response to those concerns, federal hunting regulations were liberalized in 2008, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted a conservation order allowing states in the Atlantic Flyway to implement special snow goose harvest programs in addition to regular hunting seasons. Based on guidance from USFWS, DEC decided to have one continuous season this year.

The special season includes a bag limit of 25 snow geese per day. Hunters are also allowed to use electronic calls and unplugged guns, shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, so long as there is no co-occurring open season for other migratory waterfowl..

For more information about hunting snow geese or other migratory game birds in New York, visit the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html.