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Light Goose & Turkey Apps Update from NDGNF

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Spring Light Goose Season Opens Feb. 21

You wouldn’t know it by looking out your window, but North Dakota’s first bird hunting season in 2009 is only days away.

Mike Szymanski, waterfowl biologist for the state Game and Fish Department, said North Dakota’s spring light goose season opens statewide Feb. 21, but hunters shouldn’t expect birds migrating through anytime soon. “Obviously, weather conditions aren’t conducive for geese to be here on opening day, but this will allow hunters time to prepare,” Szymanski said.

North Dakota’s annual spring season opens in February in case weather conditions allow for an early arrival. Availability of food and open water dictate when snow geese arrive in the state. Early migrants generally start showing up in the southeast part of the state in mid-to-late March, but huntable numbers usually aren’t around until the end of March or early April. Movements through the state largely depend on available roosting areas and the extent of the snow line.

The season is open through May 10. Residents can hunt during the spring season with either a 2008-09 or 2009-10 hunting license (fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a combination license; or a small game, plus general game and habitat license). Licenses at this time are available only from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office, the department’s HSOforum at, or by calling (800) 406-6409.

Nonresidents need a 2009 spring light goose season license. The cost is $50 and the license is good statewide. Nonresidents who hunt the spring season remain eligible to buy a full 14-day fall season license.

A federal duck stamp is not required of either residents or nonresidents.

Hunters must obtain a new Harvest Information Program registration number before venturing out into the field. Those purchasing a license are able to register with HIP at that time. Otherwise, hunters should call (888) 634-4798. The HIP number is good for the upcoming fall season as well, so spring hunters should save it to record on their fall license.

The spring season is only open to light geese – snows, blues and Ross’s. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The season is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. There is no daily bag or possession limit. Electronic and recorded calls, and shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, may be used to take light geese during this season.

There are no waterfowl rest areas designated for the spring season. Hunters should note that private land within waterfowl rest areas closed last fall may be posted closed to hunting.

Nontoxic shot is required for hunting all light geese statewide.

Driving off established roads and trails is strongly discouraged during this hunt because of the likelihood of soft, muddy conditions, and winter wheat that is planted across the state. In North Dakota, 530,000 acres were seeded to winter wheat for crop year 2009.

To maintain positive landowner/hunter relations, hunters are advised to seek permission before hunting on private lands or attempting any off-road travel during this season.

All regular hunting season regulations not addressed above apply to the spring season. For more information on regulations refer to the 2008 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide.

Spring Turkey Applications Due Feb. 11

Applications for this spring’s turkey season must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight Feb. 11, reminds Carrie Whitney, licensing supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Prospective hunters can submit a lottery application online, or print an application, at the Game and Fish Department’s HSOforum, Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight Feb. 11.

Application forms are also available at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices. Individuals mailing applications to the department are advised to mail early because some post offices use the following day’s postmark for mail received after regular hours.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply. The 2009 spring turkey season opens April 11 and continues through May 17.

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