It's open season on snow geese in AR

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Snow geese are a nuisance here in Region 8, and with them arriving every year in such large numbers the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission allows hunters to hunt the geese without a limit.

Shaun Merrell at Crowley's Ridge Nature Center said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has done this to help farmers and the geese themselves.

"Arkansas along with some other states has opened up just a pretty liberal season to be able to reduce those numbers, because with that many numbers it's just that they're hurting themselves," Merrell said.

With the population growing, the Game and Fish Commission has made it easy for hunters to get out and bag geese, by making it so hunters only need a free permit that can be printed off the AGFC website and a hunting license.

"No waterfowl stamp, no federal stamp or state stamp that you have to have just that permit that you have to have and a valid hunting license," Merrell said.

There is a good reason why the population needs to go down as well. Merrell said the geese can hurt the agriculture industry.

"They do some much damage to crops and matter of fact, if a flock of geese, if you're looking at 10-thousand birds, 5 to 10-thousand birds that set down on a wheat field," Merrell said. "I mean in a matter of days they can pick clean every bit of the vegetation."

The geese also affect duck hunting, which is another big industry in Region 8.

"If you're in a rice field or a soybean field or something like that a big flock of geese can come in and really virtually just eat up every bit of the food that's out there available for other migratory waterfowl like mallards and pin-tail and different species like that," Merrell said.

The goose hunting season isn't just for snow geese either; it includes ross goose and blue goose as well.

Merrell said that hunters can use unplugged shotguns and electric calls in their goose hunting.

Those interested in goose season need to call the AGFC office at (800)364-4263 before hunting as well. The season ends on April 25th, 2015.

For more information on this years goose season you can access the Arkansas Game and Fish Commissions website here.

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