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CONSERVATION SEASON

SPRING LIGHT GOOSE CONSERVATION

  1. The Light Goose (snows, blues, Ross') Conservation Order is a cooperative effort by the U.S. and Canada to address serious arctic ecosystem degradation to primarily coastal areas in arctic Canada caused by an over abundance of mid-continent light geese. Simply put, the size of the population has increased in the central and eastern arctic so much that the geese are damaging their breeding grounds by overgrazing.
  2. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was amended to authorize the establishment of the Light Goose Conservation Order which allows the taking of this population of light geese after March 10. The Conservation Order also allows the use of electronic calls, unplugged shotguns, and provided for extended shooting hours (half hour after sunset). The first Conservation Order was in spring of 1999.
  3. Mid-continent light goose population objective set by a Flyway Management Plan is 1.0 - 1.5 million birds, as measured on the winter waterfowl survey in early January.
  4. Recent 3-year averages for the winter waterfowl survey are: 1995-97 - 2.65 million; 1996-98 - 2.74 million; 1997-99 - 2.80 million; 1998-00 - 2.65 million; 1999-01 - 2.43 million; 2000-02 - 2.47 million; 2001-03 - 2.49 million; 2002 - 04 - 2.43 million; 2003 - 05 2.31 million; 2004-06 - 2.24 million. The number of light geese is still way above population objective but declining somewhat.
  5. Conservation Order harvest in South Dakota: Average Conservation Order harvest in South Dakota for the past 8 years (1999-2006) is 89,617. The spring conservation order harvest is much larger than the harvest during the regular fall season. Estimated light goose harvest during the regular fall season for the six-year period of 1999 - 2004 was only 18,355. States that harvest the most light geese during the Conservation Order in the Central Flyway are Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and in the Mississippi Flyway it's Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri.
  6. Harvest for the United States and Canada combined, for both the Conservation Order and regular fall season are: 1998 - 1999 - 1.27 million; 1999 - 2000 - 1.46 million;  2000 - 2001 - 1.15 million; 2001 - 2002 - 1.48 million; 2002 - 2003 - 1.13 million; 2003 - 2004 - 1.22 million; and 2004-2005 - 1.17 million. Progress is being made to reduce the population but more harvest is needed. Hunters are encouraged to harvest, in an ethical, respectful manner, as many light geese as the law allows.

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