Early goose season harvest results noted

Early goose season harvest results noted A harvest survey conducted by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks indicates the 1998 early giant Canada goose harvest was up from 1996 and 1997.

"For the past three years, the early season has been held in 13 eastern South Dakota counties in an effort to control local giant Canada goose populations and to reduce crop depredation caused by the birds," said Game, Fish and Parks Waterfowl Biologist Spencer Vaa.

The third early September Canada goose season was Sept. 5-15, 1998. A survey of sportsmen who participated in this hunt estimated 6,681 hunters harvested 15,768 Canada geese, up from the estimated harvest of 11,280 in 1997 and 12,865 in 1996. Vaa said hunters reported the heaviest hunting activity took place in Day and Kingsbury counties, followed closely by Codington, Lake, Brookings, Hamlin, and Clark.

"Although 9 percent of the hunters reported having difficulty getting access to private land, most were successful getting landowner permission," Vaa said. "Sixteen percent of the early Canada goose hunters said they only hunted public land."

Will there be an early September Canada goose season in 1999? "That depends on a number of factors," Vaa said. "The factors include the breeding population's status, habitat conditions and the extent of depredation complaints received from landowners. This hunt has always been based on the need to reduce the size of an expanding population of giant Canada geese, and not for increased hunter opportunity."�

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