Higher Bag Limit for Geese | VideoJoel Porter | 7/30/2012
Large families of geese are getting cozy on the soccer fields in Cottonwood Park in Bismarck.
"Really strong numbers across the state. Across the prairies, as a matter of fact," said Joel Brice with Delta Waterfowl.
Geese enjoyed another successful hatch this spring. The Game and Fish Department now pegs the statewide population at around 415,000.
"And it`s gotten worse as the numbers have grown and we`ve had these wet conditions that are ideal for Canada geese. And so it`s reached a point that we`ve been issuing kill permits to landowners for four or five years now," said Randy Kreil with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
On August 15, early season for Canada geese opens. This year, hunters will be able to bring home even more birds. The Game and Fish Department is raising the daily limit to 15.
"Hunters are a great tool, a great conservation tool to keep a healthy balance between wildlife and the environment," Brice said.
The Game and Fish Department had the option of opening the early goose season as early as August 1. However, with plenty of wheat and other small grains left to harvest, they decided to give farmers a little more time before giving the okay to hunters.
"By about the 15th of August, a lot of those small grain fields are harvested and there`s places people can set up decoys and actually have a successful hunt," Kreil said.
Although the weather pattern in late July has been mainly 80s and 90s, Brice says hunters who don`t mind sweating in the first two weeks will enjoy some of the best luck.
"The earlier you can access a bird, before other hunters, the greater success you`re going to have. Birds, geese, ducks. They do get educated, so they learn pretty quick."
While these gaggles of geese don`t show signs of leaving their soccer field haven any time soon, Brice expects plenty of opportunities across the rest of the state.
Governor Dalrymple has to sign the small game proclamation, which includes the increased bag limit.
The early season opens Wednesday, August 15.