Fish and Wildlife offers snow goose hunt permits

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Vermont’s spring snow goose hunt will be held from March 11 through April 27.

Since 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has annually issued a conservation order to allow the reduction of the population of migrating greater and lesser snow geese as well as Ross’ geese. The numbers of these geese have grown so high that they are destroying habitat for themselves and other species.

Eight states in the Atlantic flyway (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont) will hold a similar spring snow goose conservation order in 2018.

The Vermont order will occur statewide. The daily bag limit is 15 snow geese, and there is no possession limit. Waterfowl hunting regulations in effect last fall will apply, with the exception that unplugged shotguns and electronic calls may be used, and shooting hours will be extended until one half hour after sunset.

A 2018 spring snow goose harvest permit is required and is available at no charge on the Fish and Wildlife Department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) under “hunt-waterfowl-spring snow goose hunt.” Hunters may also call the Essex Junction office at (802) 878-1564 to request a permit.

Hunters will also need a 2018 Vermont hunting license, a 2018 Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, a current federal migratory hunting stamp ($25), and a 2018 Vermont migratory waterfowl stamp ($7.50).

Hunters can register with the Harvest Information Program by going to the Fish and Wildlife Department website or by calling toll free (877) 306-7091.

Hunters who obtain a permit will be required to complete an online survey after April 27 and prior to May 16, 2018, whether they hunted or not. Hunters without access to the Internet may obtain a copy of the survey by calling (802) 878-1564.

“The breeding population of greater snow geese has grown from approximately 50,000 birds in the mid-1960s to 747,000 birds today,” said David Sausville, Vermont’s waterfowl project biologist. “This increase has resulted in damage to agricultural crops and marsh vegetation in staging and wintering areas from Quebec to North Carolina. The Atlantic flyway has established a goal of 500,000 greater snow geese to bring populations in balance with their habitat and reduce crop depredation.”

During spring migration, snow geese typically move through the Champlain Valley in late March and early April. They usually pass through Vermont fairly quickly in route to their spring staging areas along the St. Lawrence River Valley. They remain there for about a month before moving on to their nesting areas in the eastern Canadian arctic. — from Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

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