South Dakotans can get an early start to fall hunting on Saturday, Aug. 3 with a hunt designed to lower the population of Canada geese.

Resident Canada goose populations in many states have exploded over the past several years. South Dakota has been no exception, with a goose population that exceeds the level designated by state game managers.

“The Game, Fish and Parks Department works in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managing migratory waterfowl,” Chad Switzer, GFP wildlife program administrator, said. “Ultimately the framework for waterfowl seasons is determined at the federal level and one of the provisions they have provided is this August Management Take Canada goose hunt.”

The hunt is for South Dakota residents only, and will run from Aug. 3-31 in the counties of Brookings, Brown, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Grant, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Roberts, Spink, Union and Pennington County west of the Cheyenne River.

Resident hunters must have a 2013 small game or combination license, and the state migratory bird certification. The federal waterfowl stamp is not required for this August hunt.

The daily bag limit for Canada geese is 15 with no possession limit.

“The goal is to encourage a healthy harvest of geese to help bring the numbers more in line with our population goals,” Switzer said. “Estimates placed the Canada goose population at approximately 270,000 birds in 2012. Our management goal is 80,000.”

Hunters will be able to avail themselves of an opportunity to donate geese to the South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunter program. Designated meat processors will take the geese at no charge to the hunter.

The list of participating processors can be found at www.gfp.sd.gov/hunting/waterfowl/goose-SAH-donation.aspx

More information on the August Management Take for Canada geese can be found at www.gfp.sd.gov/hunting/waterfowl/august-goose-management.aspx

Image courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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