The Missouri Department of Conservation issued another conservation order for light geese.
by Jade Wright
The Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have issued another conservation order for light geese. “Light geese” include lesser snow (both
the white and blue phase) and Ross’s geese. Numbers of light geese still exceed the carrying capacity of fragile arctic habitats, and biologists continue to recommend greater harvest to reduce
numbers. Longer seasons with liberal bag limits since the mid-1990s, and implementation of a Conservation Order following the regular waterfowl hunting season since 1998/99 has resulted in
increased harvest in Missouri. From 1991-1995, the number of light geese taken annually in Missouri averaged 11,350. During the first three years of the Conservation Order (98/99 through
00/01), the harvest during the regular waterfowl season and Conservation Order combined averaged just over 100,000.
During the Conservation Order, hunters may use electronic calls, unplugged shotguns, and shoot until ½ hour after sunset with no daily bag limit. A Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit ($6)
is the only permit required to participate in the January 31 through April 30 Conservation Order.
In 2001, an early spring in the eastern arctic resulted in favorable nesting conditions for light geese. Consequently, the fall/winter flight will contain both a greater number of birds and a
higher proportion of young than last year.