North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set, and bag limits and licensing requirements have changed from last year.
The season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Sept. 15, except in the Missouri River Zone where the season ends Sept. 7. This year, states can offer a possession limit of three times the daily bag limit for most migratory birds. The early Canada goose season has a limit of 15 daily and 45 in possession.
Limits and shooting hours for the early season are different from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.
In addition, a new state law requires hunters to purchase an early Canada goose season license. Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.
A federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older, and Harvest Information Program certification, is required beginning Sept. 1.
Hunters who purchase a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website atgf.nd.gov, or instant licensing telephone number (800) 406-6409, can easily get HIP certified. Otherwise, hunters can call (888) 634-4798 and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.
Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.
The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.
For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website.