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Stewart McDanial attempts to get comfortable in a muddy, messy grain field, as he awaits another flock of snow geese during a spring hunt in North Dakota. Tyler Shoberg/The Pioneer

Spring light goose season: Game and Fish updates migration progress

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outdoors Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

Snow geese have yet to arrive in North Dakota, but the spring light goose migration has made its way into the southern portion of South Dakota.

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This week's forecast in Bismarck has highs in the low 30s, with lows in the teens. Weekend temperatures in the 40s have caused snow to quickly dissipate in the southern portion of the state, leading to standing water in some areas.

North Dakota spring light goose hunters can track general locations of geese as birds make their way through the state during the upcoming spring season. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur, until the season ends or geese have left the state.

Spring snow goose reports are intended to alert hunters when geese are in the state. It will not provide numbers or specific locations, but at the same time it will provide the general path they are taking through the state.

Snow geese tend to move through North Dakota fairly quickly in the spring, with arrival and duration in the state dependent on weather conditions. Snow geese generally start showing up in the southeast part of the state mid-to-late March, but huntable numbers usually aren't around until the last week in March, or even the first week in April. Movements through the state are largely dependent on available roosting areas and the extent of the snow line.

Migration notes

Hunters are reminded that species identification is extremely important because white-fronted (speckle-bellies) and Canada geese travel with light geese. The spring season is closed to white-fronts and Canada geese. For photos of species in flight, visit gf.nd.gov.

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Migration updates are available at 701-328-3697, until the season ends or geese have left the state.

HIP (Harvest Information Program) registration is required of all migratory bird hunters. Hunters must register annually before hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Save your HIP number and record it on your fall hunting license.

Hunters can register with HIP by phone by calling toll free 1-888-634-4798, or online at gf.nd.gov. After answering a brief survey, you will receive a HIP registration number which must be recorded on your fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate.

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