North Dakota’s early Canada goose dates are set, and bag limits and licensing requirements are the same as last year.
However, one major change from last year is that the state Game and Fish Department has restructured the Canada goose hunting zones.
Migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski said the new structure addresses depredation issues and provides additional hunting opportunities.
“Basically, our worst Canada goose-landowner conflicts are in the eastern half of the state and getting those extra days back in September gets some more harvest pressure on those birds,” Szymanski said.
Canada goose hunting is divided into three zones – Missouri River, western and eastern. The Missouri River Canada goose zone has the same boundary as last year, while the western zone has the same boundary as the high plains duck unit, excluding the Missouri River zone. The eastern zone has the same boundary as the low plains duck unit.
Opening day for early Canada goose is Aug. 15 in all three zones. Closing dates are Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, Sept. 15 in the western zone and Sept. 21 in the eastern zone.
Early Canada goose limits are 15 daily and 45 in possession.
Limits and shooting hours are different from the regular season, while the zone boundaries will remain the same. Shooting hours for early Canada goose are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.
Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.
Harvest Information Program certification is required, and beginning Sept. 1 a federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older is needed. Those who HIP registered to hunt the spring light goose conservation order in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required in each state only once per year.
Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.
Hunting of Canada geese in August and early September is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers, which remain high. Game and Fish is attempting to provide additional hunting opportunities that can increase pressure on locally breeding Canada geese.
For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.