Geese offer flocks of late-season hunting opportunities

Geese hunting season
Geese hunting season

PRATT – Don’t put up your waders and shotgun just yet because late-season goose hunts can deliver some of the best waterfowl hunting the state has to offer. Most hunting seasons,including those for ducks, deer and upland birds, will close by the end of January, but hunters looking to get a few more days of field time should set their sights on geese.

Canadaand light goose seasons end Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.The white-fronted goose season will reopen Feb. 1-9, 2014.Depending on weather and snow cover conditions, numbers of geesecansteadily build in late January and early February around Kansas reservoirs and wetlands. Hunting can be spectacular.Thenfrom Feb. 10-April 30, 2014, hunters can hunt snow and Ross’ geese during the Light Goose Conservation Order,which allows hunters to take an unlimited amount of the species in an effort to reduce populations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established this special season to increase the harvest of light geese, a population that hasincreased more than 300 percent since the mid-1970s. These historic numbers of geese have denuded portions of their fragile tundra breeding habitat in the arctic, which may take decades to recover. This impacts other bird species that nest there, including semi-palmated sandpipers and red-necked phalaropes.

Since the first conservation order in 1999, the harvest of light geese has more than doubled, in turn reducing population growth as planned. However, the management goal is to reduce the population of mid-continent light geese by 50 percent, so there is still more reason to hit the field for these birds.

To increase hunter success, the conservation order authorizes hunting methods not allowed during the regular seasons, including the use of electronic calls,unplugged shotguns, and shooting hours one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click on “Hunting/When to Hunt/Migratory Birds.”

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