Change in Northern Goose Area
After extensive hunter surveys and input, the DWR is recommending a dark goose hunting change in northern Utah. The change would allow Canada goose hunting to take place later into the winter across most of the northern part of the state.
The change would take most of northern Utah out of the Northern Goose Area and place it in the state’s General Goose Area. The hunt across most of northern Utah would start Oct. 1 and run until Oct. 13. Then, the season would close until Oct. 22, when it would reopen and run until Jan. 22.
In the Northern Goose Area, which would be much smaller than it currently is, the dark goose hunt would begin Oct. 1 and run until Jan 14.
Stringham says hunters approached the DWR this past spring, asking for the change. “These hunters have had a lot of success taking geese later in the winter,” he says. “They wanted the hunt in northern Utah to be the same as the rest of the state—a split season where hunting stopped for a period in October but then resumed and ran later into January.”
Hunters who belong to private clubs near the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge were against the change. “The water on the clubs’ marshes usually freezes by January,” Stringham says. “Very little goose hunting is available then. To give their members the best chance to hunt geese, the clubs wanted the season to remain open through October.”
Stringham says the compromise biologists found should meet the needs of both parties. And, in the process, public hunters will have more chances to hunt geese in northern Utah than ever before.
“If you’re a public hunter,” he says, “you can still hunt geese at the Bear River Refuge during the October period when the rest of northern Utah is closed to goose hunting. Then, when the refuge closes to goose hunting in January, you’ll have two more weeks—which you didn’t have before—to hunt dark geese across the rest of northern Utah.”
Better chance to take light geese
Another goose hunting change should increase your chance to take light geese.
In the fall, Stringham says most light geese pass through Utah from late October through the middle of November. “Then,” he says, “they return to Utah in late winter, on their way to their northern breeding grounds. Modifying the hunt dates will give hunters a better chance to take light geese in the fall and the winter.”
The DWR is recommending that Utah’s light goose hunting season run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 30, 2016 and Jan. 16 to March 10, 2017.
Millard County is among the exceptions, though. There, the season would also be closed from Feb. 6 – 28.
“A popular wildlife viewing event, called the Snow Goose Festival, happens at a reservoir near Delta in February,” Stringham says. “Closing the hunt during most of February would reduce conflicts between hunting and the festival.”