Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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Longer early goose hunt sought by CC committee

Correspondent

Mishicot, Wis. Dick Koerner, chairman of the Wisconsin
Conservation Congress’ migratory waterfowl committee, said that
group is considering pushing for an early Canada goose season that
runs straight through the Labor Day weekend this year.

“Hunting wouldn’t be allowed on certain bodies of water where
there are a lot of campers, canoeists and people who recreate near
state parks and wildlife areas,” Koerner said.

Michelle Lehner, assistant migratory bird ecologist for the
Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said she doubted such a
proposal would fly this year, but said it could be possible for
future seasons.

“It might come up at our post-flyway meeting in August, but I
don’t think it would be ready to go for this year,” Lehner
said.

The state is tentatively looking at Sept. 4-15 for the early
goose hunt and Sept. 15-16 for the youth waterfowl hunt, she said,
but those dates are not set in stone and won’t be until August.

Koerner told state Conservation Congress delegates gathered for
their annual meeting May 11 that the estimated goose harvest for
the Collins Zone was 634 birds last year, or 49 percent of its
allocation. The take in the Horicon Zone was estimated at 24,521,
or 62 percent of its allocation. The Exterior Zone led the way with
an estimated 28,609 birds, or 74 percent of its allocation.

About 162,000 hunters were certified in the Harvest Information
Program (HIP). They combined to kill an estimated 53,764 Canada
geese, 68 percent of the state’s 79,400-bird allocation.

A total of 84,686 permits were issued for the Exterior Zone. The
compliance rate on hunters reporting kills via the (800) 99-GOOSE
line was estimated at 74.2 percent.

The early September goose season attracted 69,716 hunters who
received permits. The final kill estimate was 11,192, up from 6,032
in 1999. The top four counties for harvest were Brown (777),
Jefferson (630), Polk (550) and Walworth (500).

Koerner said the committee met in December and found most of the
state had a fair to poor duck season, with the exception of the
Mississippi River and along the Lake Michigan shoreline area from
Manitowoc to Green Bay.

Lehner said the state is just completing its breeding duck
survey and the numbers will be available in June. Duck and coot
die-offs at Shawano Lake continued due to a flatworm parasite that
lives in a tiny, white snail and in the larvae of caddis flies.
Since 1996, nearly 27,000 ducks have died on Shawano Lake from the
parasite. Last year, about 3,000 coot and 300 ducks mostly divers
were picked up.

Koerner said the committee was assured that a whooping crane
program in Wisconsin would not impact present or future hunting
seasons. He said the group still has a request in for a sandhill
crane hunt, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not drafted
any rules to allow such a hunt yet in the Mississippi flyway.

The group’s warden liaison, Kevin Mickelberg, said wardens have
a hard time enforcing “partial concealment” for waterfowl hunting.
A subcommittee of seven members of the migratory committee are
working with Mickelberg to help determine what is partial
concealment.

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