PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Canada goose season closes Jan. 24; however, waterfowl hunters will only have one week to reorganize before they can again hunt waterfowl in South Dakota.
"Canada goose unit 2 along the Missouri River is South Dakota’s last waterfowl hunting opportunity of the 2005 seasons," said Game, Fish and Parks Waterfowl Biologist Spencer Vaa of Brookings. "Goose hunters can hunt until sunset on Tuesday, Jan. 24."
Tim Withers, GFP coordinator for the Lower Oahe Waterfowl Access Areas, said this year has proven to be a good test for the waterfowl hunters, not only on the public lands but also on the private.
"With the low bird numbers throughout the season, hunters had to work a bit harder than usual and be more patient," Withers said. All in all, many hunters using the Lower Oahe Areas experienced successful hunts again this year.
The 2006 Spring Light Goose Conservation Order begins Wednesday, Feb. 1 and will be open through May 8. The conservation order is a continued effort to reduce the overabundant population of light geese.
Hunters will be able to harvest snow geese, blue geese and Ross’ geese with the same requirements and restrictions as during regular state waterfowl seasons, except that electronic calls and shotguns capable of holding more than three shells are allowed during this event. In addition, hunters have an extra one-half hour for hunting in the evening, as shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and continue to one-half hour after sunset.
The daily bag limit is 20 light geese with no possession limit. All state refuges will be open to hunting, except Wall Lake State Game Bird Refuge in Hand County, Silver Lake Waterfowl Refuge in Hutchinson County and Oahe Dam, Big Bend Dam and Fort Randall Dam State Waterfowl Refuges on the Missouri River.
"Some of the refuges being opened do include privately-owned land, which means that hunters will need permission to hunt that land," Vaa noted.
Resident license requirements include a combination or small game license, plus a state migratory bird stamp.
Nonresidents need a nonresident snow goose license, which will be available from license agents around the state. Hunters can also purchase a license online by visiting the department’s website at www.sdgfp.info. From there, look under the subheading "Licenses and Reservations" for the link titled "Buy General Hunting/Fishing Licenses."
The federal waterfowl stamp is not required to hunt snow geese in the spring , since this is a conservation order and not a regular waterfowl season.
Harvest of light geese in South Dakota has averaged approximately 84,000 annually since the first Conservation Order in 1999. South Dakota is an important player in continental efforts to reduce the population of mid-continent light geese.