Goose hunt opens Labor Day weekend

State’s second mourning dove hunt opens Sept. 1
Staff Report

Madison — For the first time since the state has offered an
early Canada goose season, state goose hunters will be able to
shoot geese during Labor Day weekend.

Last year the Natural Resources Board voted to add three days to
the early goose season by allowing hunters to go afield during
Labor Day weekend beginning with the 2005 season. The season will
still run from Sept. 1-15, but this year hunters will be able to
hunt all 15 days.

“Because hunting is now allowed over Labor Day, we’re asking
hunters to be aware there are a lot of other people out there
recreating who may not be normally out there when hunters are
afield,” said Kent Van Horn, DNR waterfowl ecologist. “Please be
respectful of that.”

Nowadays, nearly the entire state is open for the early Canada
goose season. There had been two zones, but that scheme was done
away with last year. The only spot that is not open is a small
subzone in Burnett County that includes the Crex Meadows Wildlife
Area. Goose hunters can find season regulations on the DNR web site
at www.dnr.wi.gov, then go to the hunting section.

The bag limit is still five geese per day. Hunters must report
all kills by calling toll free to (800) 99GOOSE

Van Horn expects a good season this year.

“The breeding population was slightly down this year, but it is
still well above the long-term average,” he said.

Last year, hunters during the early season shot 13,746 estimated
birds. That’s up considerably from 2003, when hunters shot only
8,800 geese. The early goose harvest peaked in 2001 (hunters shot
an estimated 15,952 birds), then dropped in 2002 and 2003.

“I think the harvest increased again last year because we told
guys to hunt the early season when we learned that the MVP goose
numbers were going to be down in 2004,” Van Horn said.

Dove hunters get more days

The state’s second mourning dove season opens on Sept. 1, but
this year Wisconsin has initiated a dove-banding program.

“So we’re asking hunters to look at the legs of their doves for
the bands. There is info on the bands for reporting,” Van Horn
said. Each band has a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service number. DNR
wildlife crews banded doves in July and early August.

“There isn’t much to predict for dove season. We don’t have
intensive breeding information on doves like we have for waterfowl,
but it should be good hunting. It might be hot, but it has to cool
off one of these days,” Van Horn said.

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