Minnesota's regular goose season will open with the duck season on Sept. 25, except for Canada goose seasons in the west-central zone. Resident Canada goose populations remain high and excellent hunting should be available to Minnesota hunters.
However, Canada geese that nest near Hudson Bay and migrate through Minnesota had poor nesting this year, as deep snows covered the nesting grounds until late spring. Few geese attempted to nest and the number of goslings hatched was the lowest since 1976. This has led to additional restrictions on Canada geese.
"Without them," said Ed Boggess, DNR fish and wildlife policy manager, "we would be cutting directly into the breeding population. Protecting this population is essential to maintaining future goose hunting opportunities at areas such as Lac qui Parle."
A management plan has been approved by Mississippi Flyway Council states and provinces that calls for a 25 percent reduction in harvest in poor nesting years. Based on goose band recovery data, the proposed restrictions in hunting opportunity in most Canada goose zones should reduce harvest this season and prevent over harvest of future breeding birds. Restrictions to protect migrating EPP geese during the regular goose season will not affect the special September and December goose seasons, which are designed to reduce populations of resident giant Canada geese that nest in Minnesota.
The early Canada goose season will open statewide on Sept. 4 and run through Sept. 22 except in the northwest zone, where it closes Sept. 15. A goose hunt permit costing $4 is required for both the early and late special seasons.
The restriction against hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in the northwest, southeast, and Twin Cities Metro Goose Zones, the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County.
The regular Canada goose seasons in Minnesota will be:
-- Northwest Zone (40 days): Saturday, Sept. 25-Wednesday, Nov. 3; one
-- West Central Zone (25 days): Thursday, Oct. 21-Sunday, Nov. 14; one
-- West Zone (35 days): Saturday, Sept. 25-Friday, Oct. 29; one bird/day
Remainder of state (60 days): Saturday, Sept. 25-Tuesday, Nov. 23; two
The season for light geese (snow, blue and Ross' geese), white-fronted geese, and brant will be Sept. 25 to Dec. 19. The daily limit will be 20 light geese, two white fronted geese and one brant.
Special December Canada goose seasons will again be offered statewide except in the west-central zone, which includes Lac qui Parle WMA. The Special Goose Hunt Permit ($4) is required and valid for both early and late special goose seasons. The late season will be open Dec. 4 and close Dec. 13, except in the southeast zone, where it opens Dec. 10 and closes Dec. 19.
Bag limits will be five geese per day, except in the southeast zone, where the bag limit is two per day.
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