North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set and the season will open Aug. 15. The limits are 15 daily and 30 in possession.
Limits and shooting hours for the early season are different from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.
Normal licensing requirements for the regular season, including a federal duck stamp, apply to the early season. Nonresidents who hunt in Benson, Ramsey, Towner, Sargent and Richland counties during the early season may do so without counting against their 14-day regular season license.
All migratory bird hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters who purchase a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov, or instant licensing telephone number (800) 406-6409, can easily get HIP certified. Otherwise, hunters can call (888) 634-4798 and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.
Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, will be open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.
The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.
The early season ends in the Missouri River zone Sept. 7, while the rest of the state closes Sept. 15. The Missouri River zone closes early to provide additional late season hunting opportunities by adding these days to the end of the regular season.
For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website.
State Requirement for Transporting Geese Adjusted
North Dakota goose hunters should take note of an exception made to state identification requirements for transporting geese when processed by commercial processors who comply with state and federal requirements.
Robert Timian, State Game and Fish Department chief of enforcement, said hunters taking geese to commercial processors must follow the same procedure as before. The only change is commercial processors can now remove the identification component of the goose prior to reaching the hunter’s legal residence.
“All federal requirements of tagging and record keeping for both the hunter and the processor remain the same,” Timian said. “In addition, nothing changes for the person who takes geese home to clean.”
This applies to both the early Canada goose and regular goose seasons. It does not apply for ducks. “The processors were in agreement with us to treat this as a pilot program on only geese and gauge how it works this year,” Timian said. “We might expand it to other species in the future.”
Processed geese are still subject to daily and possession limit regulations, and may be transported when accompanied by a copy of the record provided by the processor.
Prior to this year, one fully feathered wing or the fully feathered head of all waterfowl had to remain attached during transportation or shipment until it reached the hunter’s legal residence or was processed for immediate consumption.