What were your thoughts of the first ever August Canada goose season in Minnesota? Did you have a chance to get out and sweat your way through a morning in a small grain field? I ended up hunting 4 days, but only fired my gun on 1 of those. That was a good day as we dropped 17 geese with a couple mature, banded birds in the bunch.
The DNR’s plan was filled with good intentions. I feel that they appeased some hunters and farmers while trying to control the local goose population. What they didn’t foresee, (nobody did), was that Mother Nature would throw a wrench and give us a late spring. That kept conditions less than favorable for the August hunt. Judging by the feedback we received, as well as a few Facebook photos, some geese were shot. But overall not a lot of people took to the field. It can be a lot of work to get set up and then get shut out. We like fields full of geese before we commit to setting up a spread at 4:30 the next morning!
I asked MN DNR waterfowl guru Steve Cordts what impression he’d gotten over the August season.
MNSJ: How does the DNR think the August Canada goose season went?
SC: We didn’t hear a lot of reports (positive or negative) but hunter numbers and harvest are likely to be fairly low. We’re in the process of mailing out a harvest survey this week to estimate harvest and hunter activity during the August season.
MNSJ: Did the late spring affect it?
SC: The unusual spring weather played a role in the August season and will also impact the upcoming September season. The late spring delayed goose nesting activity and/or negatively influenced nest success, so relatively few young geese were available during the August hunt. In addition, there were not a lot of small grain fields harvested and available for field-feeding geese and with the late hatch, many young geese were just flying at the beginning of the season. Because of the relatively low nesting effort, many of the non-breeding geese and failed breeders departed the state in June to molt in Canada. These geese typically return to Minnesota in mid-September and should provide some good hunting opportunities at that time.
MNSJ: Do you think we’ll see an August season again next year?
SC: More than likely, but we’ll have to assess harvest in both August and September and our statewide breeding population of Canada geese next spring. If the population remains above our statewide goal of 250,000 geese, it’s likely we’ll continue utilizing the August hunt.
MNSJ: Thanks Steve!
The August season was only in an intensive harvest zone in west-central Minnesota and is now closed. The September early season starts on September 1st and runs through September 20th, before the regular waterfowl season kicks in on September 21st.
The September season regs:
9/1 – 9/20
10 – Intensive Harvest Zone (see map here)
5 – Rest of Minnesota outside of Intensive Harvest Zone
Shooting Hours: 1/2 before sunrise to sunset
License requirements: Small game license, State waterfowl stamp ($7.50), special Canada goose permit ($4), no federal stamp required.