Since 2009 hunters have had the opportunity to pursue snow geese
during the spring as a result of a special management action
referred to as a "Conservation Order" allowed by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and adopted by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife
The measure was adopted at the recommendation of federal and
state wildlife scientists in response to concerns about a growing
number of snow geese across North America. Eight states in the
Atlantic Flyway (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North
Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont) will hold a Spring
Snow Goose Conservation Order in 2013.
In Vermont, it will occur statewide from March 11 through April
26. The daily bag limit is 15 snow geese, and there is no
The populations of snow geese, blue geese and Ross's geese in
North America, collectively referred to as "light geese," have
grown to record levels over the past three decades.
According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the
overabundance of light geese, which nest in far northern regions of
North America, is harming their fragile arctic breeding
habitat. The damage to the habitat is, in turn, harming the
health of the light geese and other bird species that depend on the
tundra habitat. Returning the light goose population to
sustainable levels is necessary.
Greater snow geese make up a large share of the light goose
population in the Atlantic Flyway.
"The population of greater snow geese has grown from
approximately 50,000 birds in the mid-1960s to 1 million today,"
said David Sausville, Vermont's waterfowl project biologist.
"This increase has resulted in damage to agricultural crops and
marsh vegetation in staging and wintering areas from Quebec to
North Carolina. The Atlantic Flyway has established a goal of
500,000 greater snow geese to bring populations in balance with
their habitat and reduce crop depredation."
Hunters who obtain a permit will be required to complete an
online survey after April 26 and prior to May 16, 2013, whether
they hunted or not. Hunters without access to the internet may
obtain a copy of the survey by calling 802-878-1564.
The Spring Snow Goose hunt occurs annually from March 11 until
the Friday before Youth Turkey Weekend.
During spring migration, snow geese typically move through the
Champlain Valley in late March and early April. They usually pass
through Vermont fairly quickly in route to their spring staging
areas along the St. Lawrence River Valley. Here they remain for
about a month before moving on to their nesting areas in the
Eastern Canadian Arctic. Typically, about 100 snow geese are taken
by Vermont hunters during the spring seasons.
Waterfowl hunting regulations in effect last fall will apply
during the 2013 Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order with the
exception that unplugged shotguns and electronic calls may be used,
and shooting hours will be extended until ½ hour after sunset.
A 2013 Spring Snow Goose Harvest Permit is required and is
available at no charge on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Department's website (vtfishandwildlife.com). Hunters may also
call the Essex Junction Office (802-878-1564) to request a
In addition to this permit, hunters will need a 2013 Vermont
hunting license (residents $22, nonresidents $50), 2013 Harvest
Information Program (HIP) certification, a 2012 federal migratory
hunting stamp ($15), and a 2013 Vermont migratory waterfowl stamp
($7.50). Hunters can register with the Harvest Information
Program by going to the department website or calling toll free
1-877-306-7091 during normal business hours.