LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) - The current Snow Goose Conservation Order requires a special permit for Arkansans and visitors to hunt the overabundant waterfowl.
The permits are free, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has made it easy for participants to get permits.
It takes less than five minutes. Go to https://www.ark.org/agfc/permitting/apply.php. You will need your hunting license number and your driver's license or Social Security number for identification. When you complete the application, you will be given a registration number. You will be ready to hunt snow geese, including blue geese and Ross's geese, which look like small snow geese.
Hunters also may get the registration numbers by calling the AGFC at (800) 364-4263 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This special snow goose season runs through April 25. The geese are abundant in Arkansas, mostly on agricultural land in northeastern, eastern and southeasteastern Arkansas. Hunters will find most of the snow geese on private land, (where landowners' permission is needed).
"It is important that hunters harvest as many snow geese as they can, " said Luke Naylor, AGFC waterfowl biologist. "There's no daily bag or possession limit on light geese during the Conservation Order, guns do not have to be plugged, electronic calls can be used and shooting hours have been extended to a half hour before and a half hour after sunset. Non-toxic shot is required."
Naylor says the special snow goose conservation season began several years ago and continues this year in an effort to reduce the snow goose population.
"The Conservation Order, with its relaxed harvest regulations, is an attempt to reduce the population to a more healthy level by allowing hunters the opportunity to harvest more geese." Naylor said. "Snow geese numbers have increased to the point that they're damaging their nesting habitat in the sub-Arctic and Arctic tundra, posing a serious threat to the long-term health of the Arctic ecosystem and its associated wildlife communities.
"This is a unique situation for waterfowl hunters. Most waterfowl regulations are created to protect species from overharvest. With snow geese, the objective is to maximize the harvest, and for exactly the same reason – to protect the species and other species associated with Arctic tundra habitat."
Snow geese often are found feeding on young winter wheat in Arkansas. They begin migrating north when weather warms in late winter and early spring.