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Get Your Goose!

Feb 23, 2009

If you’re outside and happen to hear a very distant cry way, way up in the sky, you may catch of glimpse of high-flying snow geese now making their way north. Snow GeeseThey’re on the move now. Snow geese are mostly white but have other color phases, too. They nest in the Arctic, but their population has exploded and they’re threatening to wreck the nesting places for many kinds of ducks and other wildlife there.

It’s interesting that hunting of snow geese was stopped almost 100 years ago to help them recover, but now the opposite problem exists—and hunting is now a reasonable solution.

So if you’re interested in a geese feast, or simply in helping to keep them from destroying habitat for many sorts of wildlife, you should be aware of how hunters can help control their numbers. A special “light goose order” was recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend hunting without limits on these geese into the spring. (It includes snow and blue geese, which are different color phases of the same species, as well as Ross’s geese, which is a different but related species.) The Missouri Conservation Commission approved this regulation to help deal with the problem. Here’s what the regulation is:

“People must only possess a valid migratory bird permit to take blue, snow and Ross’s geese from Jan. 31 through April 30, 2009. Methods for the taking of blue, snow and Ross’s geese during the Conservation Order include shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, and with the use or aid of recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds or imitations of bird calls or sounds. Hunters may shoot from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. A daily bag limit will not be in effect during the Conservation Order.”

That’s pretty unusual in today’s world, where species on the edge, limited in number are so often in the news. The Missouri Conservation staff who manage waterfowl areas put updates about the numbers of these geese on the Web so hunters can tell what’s happening. (The geese can move through the state pretty quickly as the weather warms.)

So what can you do with the geese you harvest? Here’s one snow goose recipe from Missouri Outdoors to get you started…

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