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N.D. G&F Notebook: Eight-bird limit proposed for early goose hunting season

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending a bag limit increase for the early Canada goose season. The annual small game proclamation, which includes early Canada goose regulations, will be submitted to the governor's office this week for approval.

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The proposal includes a daily limit of eight and a possession limit of 16. In addition, Game and Fish is recommending an opening day of Saturday, Aug. 13. In previous years, the season opened Aug. 15.

Limits and shooting hours for the early season differ from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

Normal licensing requirements for the regular season, including a federal duck stamp, apply to the early season. Nonresidents who hunt in Benson, Ramsey, Towner, Sargent and Richland counties during the early season may do so without counting against their 14-day regular season license.

All migratory bird hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters who purchase a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website or instant licensing telephone number 800-406-6409 can easily get HIP certified. Otherwise, hunters can call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, will be open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.

The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.

As proposed, the early season would end in the Missouri River zone Sept. 7, while the rest of the state would have an ending date of Sept. 15. The Missouri River zone closes early to provide additional late season hunting opportunities by adding these days to the end of the regular season.

For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

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