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Minnesota 2010 spring light goose hunt opens March 1

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-- Minnesota hunters can harvest snow geese this spring, including blue-phased and the smaller Ross’ geese,  under the provisions of a federal conservation order.

Hunting during 2010 opens Monday, March 1 through Friday, April 30. The conservation order is part of an international effort to reduce populations of lesser snow geese, which breed in high Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area.

High populations of the birds cause habitat damage on breeding grounds and negatively impact other bird and waterfowl species that breed in the high Arctic.

Since 2000, when Minnesota began participating in the conservation order, the state spring harvest of light geese has varied dramatically. Numbers have ranged from a few hundred to 6,000, depending on weather conditions.

“Minnesota is at the extreme eastern edge of the spring migration through the Midwest,” said Ray Norrgard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wetland wildlife program leader. “March weather, particularly snow and ice conditions, can have a tremendous effect on the migration routes of light geese.”

A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained from any DNR license agent. Spring light goose permits also will be available by telephone at (888) 665-4236 or online after March 1 at www.mndnr.gov.

No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate. Although the permits are free, there is a $3.50 application fee to cover permit issuing costs. Non-toxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations, as well as most regulations that apply to fall goose-hunting seasons, also will apply during the spring light goose conservation action.

Hunters may use electronic calls and unplugged shotguns.

Refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons also are closed during the spring conservation action. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day. No daily or possession limits apply.

A summary of regulations will be available from license vendors, DNR wildlife offices or by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free (888) 646-6367.

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