The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced several significant changes to September's Canada goose hunting seasons throughout the state.
The season dates are similar to past years, but higher bag limits and other special measures will be allowed this year because local-nesting (a.k.a. "resident") Canada goose populations remain too high in many areas.
"When DEC established the September goose hunting season in the early 1990s, New York's resident Canada goose population was estimated to be around 130,000 birds, but today we have more than 200,000 birds," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "New York waterfowl hunters annually take more than 50,000 Canada geese during the September season, and we hope the changes adopted this year will enable hunters to take even more to help reduce the population."
DEC's management efforts are working toward a reduction in the population to eventually hit approximately 85,000 birds to alleviate the variety of problems they are causing in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Season dates and bag limits
The opening and closing dates for the September Canada goose season are set for specific goose hunting areas, as follows:
-Lake Champlain: Sept. 3-25
-Central and Eastern Long Island: Sept. 3-30
-Western Long Island: closed
-The rest of New York: Sept. 1-25
Each of these areas is outlined at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28496.html#Descriptions.
Western Long Island does not have a September season because federal regulations allow DEC to have a longer regular goose season later in fall and winter, when hunting opportunities are preferred by most waterfowl hunters in that area.
During most of the September goose hunting seasons, hunters are allowed to take up to 15 Canada geese per day. The previous limit was eight per day; however, as several other eastern states with overabundant resident geese have done, DEC has allowed the maximum number acceptable under federal regulations.
Although few hunters will take a full daily limit, the opportunity to do so may be helpful in some chronic problem areas where hunting is allowed and hunters are particularly successful. The only exception is the Lake Champlain Zone, which will continue to have a daily limit of five Canada geese per day, consistent with adjoining areas in Vermont.
Possession limits for waterfowl have also increased this year to three times the daily bag limit.
In addition to the higher bag limit, three other changes will be in effect during the September season in most areas: 1) shooting hours will be extended to a half-hour after sunset, instead of the usual closing at sunset; 2) hunters will be allowed to use electronic calling devices to help entice geese within shooting range (typically 50 yards or less); and 3) hunters will be allowed to use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells at a time, but no more than seven.
The only time and place where these three measures are not allowed are during September 21-22 in the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone. That is the Youth Waterfowl Hunt weekend in that area, when junior hunters may be afield hunting both ducks and geese. Federal regulations do not allow the special measures for Canada geese whenever any other waterfowl hunting seasons are open.
To participate in the September Canada goose hunting season, hunters must: 1) have a 2012-13 (last year's) hunting license, with small game hunting privileges, as these licenses remain valid through Sept. 30, 2013; and 2) be registered for 2013-14 in New York's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program.
HIP registrations expire on June 30 annually. To register in HIP, call 1-888-427-5447 or visit www.NY-HIP.com.
Hunters 16 years or older must also have a 2013-14 federal duck stamp to hunt during the September goose season. Federal duck stamps cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling 1-800-852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license.
For more information about waterfowl hunting in New York, including public hunting areas around the state, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28175.html or contact any DEC wildlife office.