Thanks for your beginning kind words. Wintering white geese in CA actually are comprised of 2 main stocks of snow geese + Ross' geese (a separate species). In North America over the last 20-25 years we've been managing geese more and more on a stock-specific basis. We have management plans for most stocks, and for the Pacific Flyway, some of these plans are on the internet at www.pacificflyway.gov. These plans contain population objectives for each stock, as well as harvest management guidelines. While Snow geese from the western Canadian Arctic are doing well, and Ross' geese super well, we also host snow geese from Wrangel Island, Russia. Those geese are just under their management plan objective, but they were trending upward enough to warrant some liberalization last year. Interestingly, while measures of the breeding populations of western Arctic snows and Ross' geese are up (way up in some areas) the number of white geese (both snow and Ross') in winter in CA is actually about stable over the long run.
Hope that helps
I read over the information and fired this one back at him:
I sincerely appreciate your extremely prompt response; it was truly impressive! To say I read the entire 40 pages in depth would not be entirely honest, but I did go through the much better half in detail, and all of it was looked over. In my last e-mail I told you I was no biologist or professional on snow geese, but I have done some research on the snow geese and still have a few questions in regards to it.
Somewhere along my research, I read the WISG do not migrate on flyways to the East of the Pacific flyway. If this is the case, the highest majority of Wrangel Island Snow geese are taken here in the Pacific flyway, correct? To me, this means we have the largest impact on the WISG population. According to "The Council Review Draft" for the WISG, it says the 2004 Snow goose harvest report (not limited to WISG exclusively, but rather all snow geese) was approximately 36,000 birds. In the same report, it says the approximate population of WISG is 117,500; the same population as the year before. In addition to the WISG population, the report states there are 450,000 birds in the Central Valley when you add in the Artic geese coming from the other flyways (there is no mention of the addition of Ross’ geese in that figure). The report literally says, "Some are Wrangel Birds" (page 29). If we were to assume all 117,500 WISG migrated to the Central Valley, this would leave us with 332,500 snow geese in the Central Valley that were not WISG. This data and scenario only reflect the Central Valley; WISG do not meet up with Artic Snows until Summer Lake and begin settling down for winter from that point south until few numbers get to the Central Valley where the majority of geese are Artic Snows and ross’, not WISG. As stated in the report ninety percent of the 43,000 geese on Lower Klamath are Ross and not WISG, how many of the geese in California can be WISG if that few are in Klamath? Realistically, how many WISG are taken in California as opposed to the artic geese, blue geese, and Ross geese in the reported 36,000?
Looking at appendix A. it shows the WISG population is at a seventy four year high, with a much higher number of breeding geese in that population than previous years. I suspect this means the WISG are getting older and the geese killed are young, uneducated birds in states other than California? Moreover, there were more nests with a higher percentage of successful nests, and a higher clutch size in 2005 than in the same 31-year period! And let’s not forget older geese tend to persuade flocks of geese out of hunter’s spreads leading us to believe the older geese are going to encourage the populations to further expand.
California has had the three-goose limit since 1981 and was finally raised to four in the 2005-2006 hunting season. In this period, the WISG population has fluctuated, but has exploded in numbers in the past five years growing over twenty thousand geese! Mind you, these are only the "protected" WISG growing in population being accounted for, not the Ross or Artic Snow Goose populations that are included in, and make up the overwhelming population of the 450,000 geese noted by the report in the central valley. Speaking of which, the report does not address the Ross’ and Artic populations that are undoubtedly growing as well, quite possibly a result of California’s conservative limits. As stated in the report ninety percent of the 43,000 geese on Lower Klamath are Ross and not WISG, how many of the geese in California can be WISG if that few are in Klamath?
I understand the bind you are in; preserve the population, yet let it grow slightly, and ultimately manage the population. It really seems to be opposite directions, yet oddly enough, all reaching for the same goals. However, as it seems to me, if California has minimal impact compared to other states on the WISG while there is a dramatic increase in the Ross goose population in California why would California hunters not be able to take more geese? Other states are granted a conservation season in order to combat the excessive Artic snow goose populations, yet Californians sit idle watching those same geese (Artic) fly in California along with the Ross's. It has been said that the Conservation season was granted too late to the states that have it in order to manage their goose population. Can it be said the Ross' goose population is being allowed to go wild because of the misconception we are preserving the WISG population—a population that is not in California with the huge numbers it once was?
Again, I appreciate your help, desire, commitment to the state’s game, and your taking the time to speak with me.
Very Truly Yours,
What do you guys think?