Unprecedented resident Canada goose numbers have  opened the door to the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks to allow  waterfowl hunters to harvest 15 birds a day during the first two August Management Take seasons in South Dakota and the Early Fall September Canada goose season, and in the process, donate goose meat to the needy.

Hunters will be allowed to donate their birds to Sportsmen Against Hunger, free of charge, through a number of locker processors in the state.  For a full list of participating processors, visit: http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/waterfowl/goose-SAH-donation.aspx

Birds from the August Goose Management Take (Aug. 4-26) and the Early Fall Canada Goose Season (Sept. 1-21) will be eligible for donation.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that South Dakota’s resident Canada goose population index is about 270,000 this year, which is three times our management goal for this population” said GFP Terrestrial Chief Tom Kirschenmann.  “Geese damage crops, especially soybeans and corn.  To bring their population down, we are doing everything we can to encourage more harvest of those geese.  To facilitate harvest and find a means of helping others, hunters participating and donating their early season geese to the Sportsmen Against Hunger program is a win-win situation.”

GFP is also encouraging experienced waterfowl hunters to take new hunters in the fields during the August Management Take and September season by holding the “(Re)Introduce The Sport” giveaway.

Waterfowl hunters who take along hunters who did not hold South Dakota migratory bird certificates last year will be eligible to win a Benelli DaVinci shotgun or other prizes.

“Early goose seasons have warm weather, birds that decoy well, and abundant access,” said GFP Wildlife Administration Chief Scott Simpson. “This is a great opportunity to take a new hunter or help a former waterfowler re-connect with the sport”

To enter the contest, send e-mail to: wildinfo@state.sd.us   and include:

Name, city and phone number of both you and the new hunter. Photo of you and the new hunter in the field.

Hunters may enter themselves once for every new hunter they take during the August Goose Management and the Early Fall September Canada Goose season. A new hunter is defined as someone who did not have a South Dakota migratory bird certification in 2011.

For more information on the contest, the August Goose Management Take and the September Goose Season visit: http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/waterfowl/goose.aspx

Image courtesy of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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