DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is again implementing a federal Snow Goose Conservation Order, an Atlantic Flyway-wide effort to use hunting as a management tool to reduce and stabilize the population of greater snow geese. First issued in 2009, the order continues due to snow goose numbers reaching population levels that cause extensive damage to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, as well as to wetlands and agricultural areas where the birds overwinter in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware. The 2017 Conservation Order to harvest snow geese will open Monday, Feb. 6 and run through Friday, Feb. 10, then will reopen Monday, Feb. 13 and run through Friday, April 7.*
The conservation order applies only to snow geese and goes into effect after Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons close. During the conservation order, hunters can pursue snow geese every day except Sunday, with no daily bag and possession limits. Hunters also can use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls during the conservation order, with legal shooting hours of a half-hour before sunrise to an extended half-hour after sunset. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply.
All state wildlife areas will be open to snow goose harvest during the conservation order. Hunting will be allowed on a first-come, first-served basis with no registration required. Hunters can hunt at any location within these wildlife areas, except for posted refuges and safety zones. Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges are not participating in the conservation order.
To participate, hunters must obtain a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number by registering at the Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt, and must keep the permit number in their possession while hunting. For assistance in obtaining the permit number, call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.
Participants must have a valid Delaware hunting license or a license exempt number (LEN), or a Maryland resident hunting license. Also required are a 2016/17 Delaware waterfowl stamp and a federal Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, with the LEN and HIP available at the website above. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required during the conservation order.
Hunters are required to report their hunting activity and success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Monday, May 1 online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt; hunters may also report by phone at 302-735-3600 during business hours.
*NOTE: The conservation order will be closed Saturday, Feb. 11 with the statewide one-day reopening of the regular snow goose hunting season. On this day, snow goose hunters cannot use the special harvest methods allowed under the conservation order and must comply with the regular-season legal shooting hours of a half-hour before sunrise to sunset and the daily bag limit of 25 snow geese. Feb. 11 is also the second of two special youth waterfowl hunting days for ages 10 through 15 provided by the Division of Fish & Wildlife during the 2016/17 hunting season, and offers the opportunity for youth to hunt a variety of waterfowl.
For more information, visit www.fw.delaware.gov or call 302-739-9912.