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NDGF increases bag limits for Canada geese

North Dakota hunters will be able to shoot more Canada geese and snow geese this fall as part of their daily limit, and the possession limit for most migratory game birds has tripled, under waterfowl regulations set this week by the North Dakota ...

Canada geese
Canada geese exceed population goals in both North Dakota and Minnesota, and wildlife managers in the two states continue to explore options for reducing the numbers. North Dakota this year is planning to offer a 15-bird limit during the early season. (N.D. Game and Fish Department photo)

North Dakota hunters will be able to shoot more Canada geese and snow geese this fall as part of their daily limit, and the possession limit for most migratory game birds has tripled, under waterfowl regulations set this week by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The state's waterfowl season opens Sept. 21 for residents and Sept. 28 for nonresidents, while the swan season opens Sept. 28 for all hunters.

According to Randy Kreil, wildlife division chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the Canada goose limit is increasing from three birds daily to eight everywhere but the Missouri River Zone, where the daily bag will be five.

Kreil said the higher limit on Canada geese results from populations that are above objective across North America, despite generally poor production this spring.

"The smaller increase in the Missouri River Zone is intended to avoid putting too much pressure on late-season migrants, which could drive the birds out of the state prematurely," Kreil said.

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The hunting season for Canada geese in the Missouri River Zone closes Dec. 27, compared with Dec. 21 in the rest of the state.

The limit on light geese increases to 50 birds daily, up from 20 birds in previous years. There's no possession limit. The daily limit on white-fronted geese is two with six in possession.

Similar to last year, North Dakota will have a 74-day season with a six-duck daily bag limit. Kreil said the scaup limit has decreased from six birds to three, while the canvasback limit increases from one to two. Other restrictions in the six-bird bag include two hen mallards, three wood ducks, two pintails and two redheads, Kreil said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which sets the season frameworks for waterfowl and other migratory game birds, increased the possession limit to three times the daily bag, up from twice the daily limit in previous years. The exception, Kreil said, is tundra swans, which have a season limit of one for hunters who receive a license in the lottery drawing.

North Dakota's special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 14-15. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years old or younger can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide. Youth hunters must have a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. A licensed adult at least 18 years old must accompany the youth hunter into the field.

Early goose challenge

Kreil said die-hard Canada goose hunters who've taken the field for the early Canada goose season that opened Aug. 15 likely have had tough hunting because of a later small grain harvest and poor spring production. The department issued a "fairly high" number of landowner kill permits this year, Kreil said, but the total number of Canada goose depredation complaints is down considerably.

For more information on North Dakota waterfowl regulations, including shooting hours and license requirements, hunters should check out the 2013 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide, which will be available at license vendors in the next few days and online at gf.nd.gov.

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Dokken reports on outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1148; or send e-mail to bdokken@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: HUNTING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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