ND Outdoors: spring light goose conservation order through May 14

Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 9:10 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. - The spring light goose conservation order opened February 18 and runs through May 14.

Midcontinent light geese were declared overabundant in the late 90s by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian governments because of their negative impacts on tundra habitats. And that’s why the Spring Light Goose Conservation Order was implemented 25 years ago.

“The Spring Light Goose Conservation Order is a special hunting opportunity enacted by Congress starting in 1999 to allow for the take of light geese, Ross’s geese and snow geese outside of normal hunting season dates,” said Mike Szymanski, North Dakota Game and Fish waterfowl biologist

The combination of photo period, freeze and snow lines in the Central Flyway determines when birds reach North Dakota.

“With it being a little bit later and a much harsher winter, the mid-continent light goose population is going to come through North Dakota probably a couple of weeks later than normal. We probably won’t see our big push through the state until a little bit later in April this year,” said Szymanski.

There are a few differences from the fall and spring hunts for light geese.

“For the spring hunt, hunters need to have their HIP registration and a valid hunting license for residents. For nonresidents that’s the HIP registration and the nonresident light goose conservation order license. Hunters can use electronic calls. They do not need a federal duck stamp and they can hunt until half hour after sunset with unplugged shotguns if they desire,” said Szymanski.

Szymanksi has some good advice for hunters hitting the field this spring.

“We really encourage hunters to use extra care and caution this year if they’re venturing out after spring light geese. Conditions are going to be very, very difficult for hunting pretty much anywhere in the traditional snow goose range in the spring. There’s going to be a lot of water moving on the landscape and very, very soft conditions that folks need to be on the lookout for, and we strongly discourage off road travel with any kind of trucks and trailers and things like that,” said Szymanski.

For all the rules and regulations for the Spring Light Goose Conservation Order, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov