New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that Canada goose hunting season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, throughout most of the state. In addition, for the first time and for the 2020-2021 hunting season, DEC has incorporated the Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration into the DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) licensing system.
“New York’s resident Canada goose population remains above our population goal throughout the state,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The state’s goose hunters are partners in DEC’s efforts to manage the resident goose population and reduce their negative impacts on property owners and public health. September goose seasons provide hunters with an excellent and early opportunity to get out and pursue resident geese before most other hunting seasons begin.”
“Resident” Canada geese are those that do not migrate significant distances to breed in northern Canada. Typically, resident geese are the birds commonly associated with nuisance situations in urban and rural areas. Over the past 25 years, New York’s estimated resident Canada geese population has grown from 80,000 birds in 1995, to more than 360,000 today.
As the resident goose population has grown, season lengths and bag limits have been liberalized in an effort to reduce or stabilize their numbers. For more information on the differences between migratory and resident geese and how these birds are managed, read the article “Canada Geese in New York-Residents or Visitors?” in the August 2019, issue of DEC’s Conservationist magazine.
The September Canada goose season occurs in all goose hunting zones except the Western Long Island zone. All upstate areas open Sept. 1, and run through Sept. 25. Canada goose seasons in the Central and Eastern Long Island zones begin on the Tuesday following the Labor Day holiday (Sept. 8, 2020) and run through Sept. 30. In the Western Long Island zone, the season opens on Oct. 10.
The September season includes liberal bag limits (eight to 15 birds per day, depending on zone), extended shooting hours, and other special regulations to maximize hunter success. Additional information about waterfowl hunting regulations, season dates, hunting area boundaries, and bag limits can be found on DEC’s website.
To participate in the September Canada goose hunting season, hunters must:
Possess a 2020-2021 hunting license (now on sale at all license issuing agents and many town halls and sporting goods stores);
Be registered for the 2020-2021 New York Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). See below for details; and
All hunters 16 years of age or older must have a 2020-2021 federal duck stamp signed across the face of the stamp in ink.
For a list of ways to purchase a hunting license, visit DEC’s website. To register with HIP visit DEC’s webpage.
New HIP Registration Process
New this year to the DECALS licensing system, the HIP registration links a hunter’s HIP number to their licensing profile and allows the hunter to log-in and retrieve their HIP number in the event it is misplaced. The transition will greatly improve data quality, which in turn will improve estimates of hunter participation and harvest.
HIP is a federal legal requirement that began in 1991. Anyone who hunts migratory game birds, including woodcock, must have proof of participation whenever they go afield. Failure to carry proof is a violation equal to hunting without a license. HIP provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with a national registry of migratory game bird hunters from which they can select participants for harvest surveys. Only a small percentage of HIP participants will be selected for harvest surveys, which will be mailed to them by the USFWS. This information helps USFWS and DEC monitor the harvest of migratory game birds and is used to establish annual hunting regulations.
To register for HIP, log-in to DEC’s online licensing website and complete the below steps.
Those not already registered in the new online licensing system will first need to register:
Choose the ‘sign up’ option and enter date of birth and DEC customer ID number (from a previous or current hunting license or backtag) or Driver’s License number; and
Create a Username and Password.
For new account holder and return customers, follow the steps below to register for HIP:
Log in and navigate to the ‘Buy License’ line at the top of the web page;
Those holding an existing hunting license (or those in the process of purchasing a new hunting license), will be given the option of ‘purchasing’ a HIP registration for $0; and
When proceeding to checkout, customer will be prompted to answer a series of questions pertaining to their migratory game bird hunting activities last year. This includes the approximate number of each of the following birds harvested last season (woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, rails, snipe, coots, gallinule, and sea ducks [scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks]).
Following the completed checkout process, the customer can access their HIP number by returning to their customer profile page and clicking on the ‘Game Harvest and HIP’ tab in the left-hand column and the dropdown arrow next to their HIP item to view their number, which proves participation in HIP. Hunters are required to carry this number with them in some form while migratory game bird hunting.
Customers unable to register for HIP through DEC’s online system or encounter problems may contact the DECALS licensing hotline (1-866-933-2257) and talk to a representative to assist with the registration process.