Snow geese have become too plentiful

  • OVERCROWDED: Snow geese

    Bob Miles photo
  Because snow geese have become too successful for their own good, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for a wholesale hunt.


The conversion of pastures to fields of grain has provided a bountiful harvest for the birds, causing the population to soar over the last three decades. Now, say agency biologists, snow geese are devouring their delicate Canadian nesting ground, eating more than can regrow in the short arctic growing season, and harming the area for other birds and plants (HCN, 11/10/97).


Snow geese may trigger their own population crash - but only after the tundra is destroyed in Canada.


The agency estimates that the current population needs to be reduced from 4 million birds to a sustainable level of 1.5 million in the next few years.


Currently, snow geese may be hunted 107 days in a year, the maximum allowed under the Migratory Bird Treaties signed over 80 years ago by the United States, Canada and other nations.


But snow geese are notoriously hard to hunt, and so far, increasing the bag limits and hunting days has not lowered the population. Newly proposed management solutions would extend hunting in banned seasons between March 10 and September 1, call for greater hunting opportunities on wildlife refuges, and suggest that incentive programs be provided to hunters to increase the harvest. Inducements might include offering prizes or reducing the cost of hunting licenses.


In addition, the agency suggests liberalizing hunting methods for snow geese, perhaps allowing electronic calls and baiting.


Critics say some proposed changes conflict with fair and ethical hunting practices. Others worry that the snow goose might be devalued in the eyes of both hunters and the public, and that the public's viewing of wildlife on refuges could be disrupted. The changes could have impacts as yet unknown on other migratory bird populations.


The Fish and Wildlife Service responds that inaction will lead to hundreds of thousands of birds and other wildlife dying from starvation and disease.


A full report on the recommendations from the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group can be obtained at http://www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/issues/tblcont.html. The FWS is accepting public comment on these changes until June 5. Comments should be mailed to Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 634\_ARLSQ, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.


* Danette R. Miller
High Country News Classifieds
  • PLANNING & BUILDING DIRECTOR
    Searching for candidates with a Bachelor's Degree in Planning, Community Development, or a related field with 7 years' experience in land use planning forums, including...
  • LAND CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    Manage, develop and implement all stewardship and land management plans and activities on both private and public lands. Guide and direct comprehensive planning efforts, provide...
  • NEWS DIRECTOR
    Based in the state capitol, Boise State Public Radio is the premier NPR affiliate in Idaho. With 18 transmitters and translators, it reaches 2/3rds of...
  • INTERNET-BASED BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home ... this is the one.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST
    Organization Background: The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • TRIPLEX .8 ACRE KANAB, UT
    Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • FORGE & FAB SHOP
    with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • SMALL FARM AT THE BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA
    Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROJECT DIRECTOR
    Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is accepting applications for an Executive Director. This position will provide leadership to RSA, develop a fund raising plan, and effectively communicate...
  • EQUITY IN THE OUTDOORS COORDINATOR
    The Equity in the Outdoors Coordinator will lead community engagement, program implementation and development, and data collection for the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM). EVOM...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT
    The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a personable individual who is passionate about conservation to join our Sandpoint Field Office. The Community Engagement Assistant will...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FLY ROD CASES
    4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION INTERN/ASSISTANT
    Actively introduce students to Experiential Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability while engaging and challenging them to learn and participate in these diverse opportunities. Room, board,...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATIVE MEDIA SERVICES
    In-depth investigations of polluters, lobbyists, regulators, elected officials and others focused on environmentally damaging projects in the U.S. and internationally. We specialize in mining projects,...
  • UNDEVELOPED 40 ACRES - SOUTHWEST COLORADO
    in beautiful Montezuma County.
  • TRUCK DRIVER
    Class A & B drivers, pass all DOT requirements and clean driving record
  • MARIA'S BOOKSHOP FOR SALE
    - Thriving Indie bookstore in the heart of Durango, Colorado. General bookstore with 34-year history as a community hub for Southwest region of CO. 1800...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details: