February 24, 2011

Light goose season opened this week

By Ed Mitchell, IDFG

   Even while most hunting seasons are now closed, the spring "light goose" season is open.

   Beginning Feb. 19 and stretching across portions of southern Idaho, the season runs through March 10.

   In place for only two years, the season carries with it a fair bit of confusion. Only two goose species are included in the hunt: snow geese (including the blue phase) and Ross' geese. The daily bag limit is 10 birds in the aggregate.

   Canada geese, white-fronted geese - also known as speckle-bellied geese - and swans are not part of the light goose hunt.

   The responsibility for distinguishing the various goose species rests with individual hunters. The good news is, most goose species don't fraternize with one another. Only rarely will different species be seen traveling together.

   Prospective hunters should know that light goose viewing hotspots, including Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area and Payette River Wildlife Management Area, are closed to light goose hunting and will remain so until the fall.

   These closures actually enhance the light goose hunt. By providing sanctuary, these areas encourage geese to lay over in Idaho, when they might otherwise push north and either stop briefly or not at all.

   Other closed areas include Roswell Marsh Habitat Area south of Hwy. 18 and the Snake River Islands Unit of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.

   Hunters wishing to take advantage of the spring goose hunt will need a 2011 hunting license, a migratory game bird harvest validation and, if 16 or older, a federal migratory bird stamp available at Fish and Game offices and local post offices. Nontoxic shot is also required.

   For more information regarding the spring light goose season, refer to the 2010 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules booklet, available at local license vendors or online at:

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