posted at 10:36 am Tue Feb 16th, 2010 by (WherezIt_Staff)
Hunters will once again have the opportunity to pursue snow geese this spring as a result of a special management action referred to as a "Conservation Order".
The order is allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and adopted by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board.
The measure was adopted at the recommendation of federal and state wildlife scientists in response to concerns about a growing number of snow geese across North America and the damage they cause to their arctic habitat. Eight states in the Atlantic Flyway (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont) will hold a Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order in 2010.
The Vermont 2010 Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order will occur statewide from March 11 through April 23. The daily bag limit is 15 snow geese, and there is no possession limit. Waterfowl hunting regulations in effect last fall will apply during the 2010 Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order with the exception that unplugged shotguns and electronic calls may be used, and shooting hours will be extended until 1/2 hour after sunset.
A 2010 Spring Snow Goose Harvest Permit is required and is available at no charge on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's website (vtfishandwildlife.com). Hunters may also call the Essex Junction Office (802-878-1564) to request a permit.
In addition to this permit, a hunter will need a 2010 Vermont hunting license (residents $20, nonresidents $40), Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, a 2009 federal migratory hunting stamp ($15), and a 2009 Vermont migratory waterfowl stamp ($7.50). Hunters can register with the Harvest Information Program by going to the department website mentioned above or calling a toll free number (877-306-7091) during normal business hours.
The populations of snow geese, blue geese and Ross's geese in North America, collectively referred to as "light geese," have grown to record levels over the past three decades.
The overabundance of light geese, which nest in far northern regions of North America, is harming their fragile arctic breeding habitat. The damage to the habitat is, in turn, harming the health of the light geese and other bird species that depend on the tundra habitat. Returning the goose population to sustainable levels is necessary to protect this delicate habitat and every species dependent on it.
Greater snow geese make up a large share of the light goose populations in the Atlantic Flyway.
"The population of greater snow geese has grown from approximately 50,000 birds in the mid-1960s to 1.4 million today," said Bill Crenshaw, Vermont's waterfowl project biologist. "This increase has resulted in damage to agricultural crops and marsh vegetation in staging and wintering areas from Quebec to North Carolina. The Atlantic Flyway has established a goal of 500,000 greater snow geese to bring populations in balance with their habitat and reduce crop depredation."
Hunters who obtain a permit will be required to complete an online survey after April 23 whether they hunted or not. Hunters without access to the internet may obtain a copy of the survey by calling 802-878-1564.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order in order to better manage the population of geese," said Crenshaw. "We are currently working with the Fish and Wildlife Board to make this a standard regulation so it won't have to be voted on each year."
Waterbury, VT 05676 (Set as Local)