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Outdoors - Goose season a month away

July 30, 2006|with BILL ANDERSON

As we get ready to turn the calendar to August, it is time to start think about the early hunting seasons.

As has been the case for many years, Sept. 1 will be the opening day of the early resident Canada goose season. This early goose season allows hunters to reduce the number of resident birds before the migratory birds have arrived from the nesting grounds in Canada. The daily bag limit of eight birds is a reflection of how the wildlife managers want to reduce the resident goose population.

This year, the early Canada goose season in the Western Zone, which includes Washington County, will be Sept. 1-25. Hunters must possess both state and federal waterfowl stamps and the free Harvest Information Program registration in addition to their regular hunting license.

Interest in hunting resident Canada geese seems to be increasing, but many hunters point out that they are turned off by the amount of equipment required for the sport, which includes decoys, goose calls, special shotguns, non-toxic shotshells and various accessories needed to hunt waterfowl. A few hunters bag birds by jump shooting, where you sneak to within shotgun range and then rush the birds to put them in the air. It works, but it's usually a one-time thing.

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The classic approach to goose hunting is to use decoys and calls. When hunting the smaller family flocks in September, you can do well with only a few decoys. In the late season, when the birds are often concentrated into big flocks, you usually need to use big spreads of decoys. But in the early season, the places you choose to set up your decoys are much more important than having a big spread.

It is also a big help if you can use a goose call - at least a little. Becoming proficient with a goose call is relatively easy. Geese are very responsive to calling and only very basic calls are required. There are many excellent DVDs available to help you learn the calls.

Hunting the early Canada goose season also means you must observe all regulations associated with waterfowl hunting. In particular, this means you must use an approved non-toxic shot material. A number of shot materials are now approved for waterfowl hunting. The most available and affordable is steel shot. Other popular shot materials include tungsten and Bismuth.

The tremendous population growth in resident Canada geese has created new and exciting opportunities for hunters in our area. You can take advantage of this opportunity with a minimum amount of preparation and equipment.




Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached by e-mail at bandersn@weekend-sportsman.com

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