SNOW GOOSE

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking public review and comment on the proposed Light Goose Conservation Order for 2022 for the Central Flyway in Montana. A conservation order is a special management action that is needed to control certain wildlife populations when traditional management programs are unsuccessful in preventing overabundance of the population.

Montana is split between the Central and Pacific flyways and complies with the corresponding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) frameworks to establish waterfowl seasons. Within the Central Flyway (but not the Pacific Flyway), the federal framework allows for a Light Goose Conservation Order, which enables the take of snow geese and Ross’s geese in the spring when other waterfowl seasons have closed. Freezout Lake is in the Pacific Flyway and is not included in this Light Goose Conservation Order.

Other states have implemented the conservation order to reduce or stabilize large populations of light geese to reduce damage to fragile northern nesting areas. This is not defined as a spring hunting season because doing so would exceed the 107 days of hunting Montana is allowed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The conservation order for just light geese (snow and Ross’s) only in the Central Flyway, is proposed and differs somewhat from regular hunting seasons:

Proposed dates and open area: March 1–May 15, 2022, for the entire Central Flyway within eastern Montana

No daily bag or possession limits

Shooting hours: half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset

Shotguns are not required to be plugged to a 3-shot capacity

Electronic calls are not permitted (precluded by state law)

Baiting is not permitted (precluded by federal regulation and state law)

Lead shot is not permitted (precluded by federal regulation)

License requirements: A special, free light goose conservation order license will be required so that the number of participating hunters and harvest can be determined and reported to the USFWS as required. No migratory bird license, prerequisite licenses, or federal duck stamp will be required.

For more information, please call the FWP wildlife division office at 406-444-2612 or send an email to fwpwld@mt.gov. Comments will be accepted online at https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/public-comment-opportunities; in writing sent to FWP Wildlife Comments, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701; and by email to fwpwld@mt.gov.

Comments accepted until Monday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m., with final adoption at the December 2021 commission meeting.

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