Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Light goose migration blows through Dakotas

By Mike
Kallok
Staff Writer

Bismarck, N.D. – This weekend might be the last chance for light
goose hunters to take part in federal ‘conservation order’ hunting
for snow, blue, and Ross’ geese in the Lower 48. The birds were
sprinting through North Dakota as of early this week.

On Monday, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials said that
no reports of huntable numbers of geese had been received in over a
week.

‘Birds have been showing up in Canada for the last couple days,’
said Mike Szymanski, a North Dakota waterfowl biologist in
Bismarck.

‘They were hung up in South Dakota on some really good sheet
water for two weeks,’ Szymanski said, adding that favorable flying
conditions and lack of snow have made for a quick migration through
southern North Dakota.

This weekend, hunters may still find pockets of juvenile birds
in the southeastern part of the state, but the bulk of shooting
opportunities will be farther north.

‘The past few years have been poor in general,’ Szymanski said
on comparisons to the 2007 migration. ‘This year, it was definitely
farther east and faster.’

Strings of snows have been observed heading north from Devils
Lake, according to Cami Dickson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
wildlife biologist from the Devils Lake Wetland Management
District.

On Monday, she said the bulk of the flock was between Carrington
in Foster County and Cando in the northern tier of the state.

‘I’m not sure how long they’re going to be around,’ Dickson
said. ‘The flocks were flying high.’

Dickson advised anyone planning a hunt this weekend to call
ahead. The flock ‘could blow through and almost be done by this
weekend,’ Dickson said.

Rain and snow are in the extended forecast for the Devils Lake
region, which could slow the migration, she said.

While most die-hard goose hunters head west, a few reports of
light geese trickled in early this week in northwestern
Minnesota.

‘Last year we had quite a few come through,’ said Ross Hier, a
DNR assistant area wildlife manager in Crookston. But predictions
on any huntable numbers this season are hard to make.

‘They’re just as fickle in the spring as in the fall,’ Hier
said.

Licenses, etc.

Minnesota’s light goose hunt will be allowed through April 30.
All that’s required of hunters is a Spring Light Goose Permit,
available at licensing agents or by calling (888) 665-4236 or
online at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

North Dakota’s light goose conservation order runs through May
6, and there is no daily or possession limit. Nonresidents must
have a 2007 nonresident spring light goose season license
($50).

Licenses may be purchases on the web at http://gf.nd.gov/ or by calling, toll free,
(800) 406-6409. The North Dakota light goose hotline number is
(701) 328-3697.

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