Sunday, August 20, 2006

New Rules For Canada Goose Management

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is making it easier to kill Canada Geese without a permit. Its new rules apply to airports, landowners, and state wildlife officials and are intended to reduce the population of resident geese along the Atlantic Flyway, where the number of geese increases at a rate of about 2 percent per year. Large numbers of resident geese have resulted in safety problems at airports, conflicts with golf courses and other private landowners, and obstacles for habitat restoration.

The new regulatory program consists of three components. The first creates control and depredation orders for airports, landowners, agricultural producers and public health officials that are designed to address resident Canada goose depredation and damage while managing conflict. This component will allow take of resident Canada geese without a federal permit provided certain reporting and monitoring requirements are fulfilled.

The second component consists of expanded hunting methods and opportunities and is designed to increase the sport harvest of resident Canada geese. Under this component, States could choose to expand shooting hours and allow hunters the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns during a portion of early September resident Canada goose seasons.

The third component consists of a new regulation authorizing the Director to implement a resident Canada goose population control program, or "management take". Management take is defined as a special management action that is needed to reduce certain wildlife populations when traditional and otherwise authorized management measures are unsuccessful, not feasible, or not applicable in preventing injury to property, agricultural crops, public health, and other interests. Under Management Take, the take of resident Canada geese outside the existing sport hunting seasons (September 1 to March 10) would be authorized and would enable States to authorize a harvest of resident Canada geese between August 1 and August 31. Management take would be available to States in the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways following the first full operational year of the other new regulations.

In the DC area, there are between 500 and 600 resident geese living in the Anacostia watershed.

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