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State seeking hunters to thin Canada goose population

by
Tom Mitchell in the blind hunting geese with Steffen Brothers Outdoors Expeditions.
Tom Mitchell in the blind hunting geese with Steffen Brothers Outdoors Expeditions.

Pierre, S.D.(KELO-AM) - South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is looking to hunters for help reduce numbers of Canada geese.

During the spring of 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated a spring population index of nearly 270,000 resident Canada geese in South Dakota.

“Our management plan sets the population objective at 80,000 to 90,000 resident Canada geese,” GFP Wildlife Division Director, Tony Leif said.

In the past year, GFP spent more than $700,000 to reduce crop damage caused by resident Canada geese; GFP has spent over $4.3 million on Canada goose depredation' since 2000. Leif said that the GFP Commission has also taken steps to curb goose numbers by allowing additional goose hunting opportunities in August and September.

New this year, GFP is seeking volunteers to harvest resident Canada geese during the spring on locations with chronic depredation problems. No hunting license will be required to participate. A limited number of volunteers will be randomly selected and provided the necessary instructions and authorization to harvest resident Canada geese.

GFP will direct the volunteer hunters to areas on private land with the chronic problems. Pass shooting will be allowed but the use of decoys, calls, and blinds are prohibited under this US Fish and Wildlife Service permit.

“We are looking to take this additional proactive approach to reduce crop damage caused by resident Canada geese,” said Leif. “We hope to accomplish this by reducing localized goose numbers and by inducing geese to move away from these problem areas. We will also be conducting a detailed evaluation of this approach to determine its effectiveness in Canada goose management.”

Geese harvested during the spring management period will be eligible to be donated to the Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) Program to feed hungry families across South Dakota.

Interested volunteers can register for the opportunity to participate at the following website: http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/volunteer-hunter.aspx

Volunteers will need to login and select “Canada Goose – Spring” and then choose the county where they would be willing to participate. Volunteers may register between Feb. 22 and March 8, with the harvest beginning in late March.

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