Rulemaking Filed to Allow Hunting from October 1 through April 15 Annually
State regulations to expand the special snow goose harvest program in New York have been amended to allow hunters to take snow geese during a special harvest program from now through April 15 in upstate New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.
This special harvest is in addition to the regular hunting season which runs from October 1 through January 15. Previously, the special season would not have opened until March 11. DEC filed a Notice of Emergency Adoption and Proposed Rule Making with the Department of State on January 23, 2013, and the changes took effect immediately.
“Extending the snow geese season is just one more way Governor Cuomo and DEC are working to expand opportunities for New York’s sportsmen and women,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “We encourage the hunting community to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The expanded special season will increase hunter opportunity to harvest snow geese throughout the winter and early spring, when they are most abundant in New York. The special season was established in 2008 to help reduce environmental damage caused by the overabundance of snow geese in eastern North America. Snow geese are an arctic breeding goose species that reached record high population levels in North America in recent years – from approximately 50,000 birds in the 1960s to more than one million birds in recent years.
Wildlife agencies, ecologists and environmental organizations have expressed concern about the impacts that overabundant snow geese are having on arctic ecosystems, coastal wetlands and agricultural crops. In response to those concerns, federal hunting regulations were liberalized in 2008, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) adopted a conservation order allowing states in the Atlantic Flyway to implement special snow goose harvest programs in addition to its regular hunting seasons. Based on guidance from USFWS, DEC decided to have one continuous season this year.
The special season includes a bag limit of 25 snow geese per day. Hunters are also allowed to use electronic calls and unplugged guns, shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, when no co-occurring open season exists for other migratory waterfowl. The special program does not include Long Island because relatively few snow geese occur in that region of the state during spring.
Logo courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Protection