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I returned from Montana yesterday and picked up my licenses and a box of shells for geese. Ammo is same price as last year, $15

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  • I returned from Montana yesterday and picked up my licenses and a box of shells for geese. Ammo is same price as last year, $15

    I returned from Montana yesterday and picked up my licenses and a box of shells for geese. Ammo is same price as last year, $15.50 for 3" mag BB. Not too bad. Something changed on the hunting regs. Possession limits for geese have been skyrocketing the past five years. Starting at ten the limit was raised to fifteen three or four years ago. Two years ago it was raised to 24. I'm sure it was a typo and should have been 25 which is what last year's possession was. This year the possession limit on honkers is ... drum roll please ... UNLIMITED! Can you believe that? You guys can come up here and shoot as many as your truck can haul home! Wow!!! Not surprising. Our goose situation is really getting out of hand.

  • #2
    The daily limit is still five honkers and twenty snows/blues. Makes sense. With government paying for health care up here they don't want guys getting hernias or ruptured disks carrying off too many geese and thereby unnecessarily increasing the tax burden.

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    • #3
      Why the large limit? Are the Canada's competing with other species?

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      • #4
        The geese are overrunning the place, especially agricultural/suburban areas. Lakes are contaminated and crops ruined. Even some aquifers are having problems. The situation with snows is critical. They are denuding their arctic nesting grounds and nothing can live up there. Perhaps forever!

        The source of the problem is mostly American. Once our geese hit the border most of the hunting grounds are leased up, especially in the Texas panhandle where many geese winter. All that's important to the slob/hog hunters and outfitters is ensuring that they or their clients shoot up a limit as quickly as possible whenever they go into the field. That is accomplished by keeping public out and letting the geese "settle down" during the week. The end result is there's not enough hunting which means not enough harvesting. Also some regulatory issues are causing problems. You should hear the Minnesota hunters south of here bellyache about how many geese I can take. Their limits have been quite restricted. And that's mostly to protect the "local" resident flocks. We have no resident year-round flocks here and truth be told WE DON'T WANT ANY. The golf courses are already a mess and the public beach a few blocks away is almost always closed due to high bacterial counts.

        Once upon a time getting a shot at a honker was a very special thing. Now if I run into a day when I can't get a shot, I know it's time to pack my bags and head for pheasants in Montana. That means the geese have left town for warmer climates.

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        • #5
          I think that golfers should get an automatic two-putt on any green that has been visited by honkers, even if they have left their deposits on the far side of the cup. The fear of overshooting sends shivers up their spines.

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          • #6
            Strange how things change. When I hunted geese in Nebraska there was a point system for each specie. One Canada and a couple of Snows and you were pretty much done for the day. Plus, on the Federal Preserve you could only enter with a limited number of shells - can't remember the number but it was not much.
            Our problem in Ohio with waterfowl are Coumerants. They have taken over the Western Basin Islands.
            They dive for fish and take away the food fish for the larger game fish species. I believe the State is considering birth control and or poison.

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            • #7
              How times change. 50 years ago I can remember hunting the Missouri flyway in South Dakota and rarely seeing a honker. We had to take mostly snows and blues and even they were quite restricted and quite sparse. Now we have more geese than we know what to do with.

              While I truly appreciate the abundance of wildlife, I certainly hope the wildlife managers from Canada south learn how to adapt to the current situation and manage them well. They are becoming quite a nuisance and yet there are thousands of people who would love to hunt them and can't or won't.

              As an example of remaining issues, I know someone who took a novice kid out for the unlimited Spring snow/blue hunt last year to introduce him to the sport. While the experienced hunter returned home for lunch, the novice stayed in the blind. He was having the best day of his life and he didn't want to leave.

              Upon returning from lunch, the hunter discovered that the novice had downed a speckle belly by mistake. This bird was among the dozen or so snows and blues that he had taken. Although, he had been told about them, the novice had been unable to differentiate the speckle in flight among a couple thousand honking snows/blues (or had hit him with overshot).

              About that time a game warden appeared and hauled them in. This made the day the worst either had ever experienced. They lost their shotguns for many months of litigation (life long sentimental value), lost their hunting licenses for a year and thousands of dollars in fines, legal fees, etc. They had months of stressful and sleepless nights potentially facing tens of thousands of dollars in Federal prosecution costs and fines.

              The novice got introduced to hunting real well. Some places it is difficult to hunt without a legal team at your side to keep you in line with regulations. I know many who would rather stay home than risk everything they own to hunt or fish. The various federal and state governments seem to feel they have to be between the muzzle and the game to control every shot and they need more staff and more restrictive laws in order to succeed. All we need is a daily limit and a possession limit for Canadians and "others" using steel shot with a need for permission to hunt private property. I think we could figure that out, enjoy ourselves and help manage the flock as well.

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              • #8
                Specks are still in the recovery stage. They were close to endangered at one time. Ross goose has either made it or managers have just given up trying to limit their possession in the face of uncontrolled numbers of snows (which they resemble). For a long time we were only allowed one Ross goose in possession. Anyway, I'd like to know a bit more about the above situation. Did the game warden see the novice drop the spec? Apparently not. My experience has been that specs usually stick to themselves, but admittedly my experience with them is limited (because their numbers are limited). They have a very distinctive and noisy call which usually clues me in right away that they are in the vicinity. I know that and I'm sure you (Dakota) know it too. But maybe the novice didn't? He should have. Your friend took a risk leaving a beginner in the field to hunt alone. Upon discovering the speck was in the novice's bag your friend did what? Apparently nothing. At that point they should have been pulling up and getting the hell out of there. Doesn't sound like that was the case. The game warden caught them both in possession. Upon discovering the mistake the bird should have went back out in the field somewhere. Mistakes happen and they should be left lay or hidden ... or you suffer the consequences. And above all, hunting should stop, at least for the day.

                I am too frequently in the same situation as your friend. My lab Opal has figured out that the Britt pup can hold the pheasants. She slips up behind her and often catches them. I'm okay with the dogs flushing so I let them roam even when things are birdy. But looks like I'm going to have to change things up. Opal is catching too many hens, which as we all know, are more prone to hold tight than roosters. If the hens struggle Opal will often clamp down and kill them. Do I take the dead hens or leave them? In some situations I will take the risk and put them in the bag. Most places I hunt I would never encounter a game warden. Keeping the bird is risky and I deserve the anxiety as punishment. In other places where I'm almost certain to be checked (e.g. federal bird refuges) I have no option but to leave the bird lay. The regulations usually cannot accommodate mistakes or they become ineffective. Sometimes game wardens can use personal discretion (at some risk to their careers!) but in the above case I believe I would have cited both individuals if I'd been in his shoes. Shooting the speck was only one of many mistakes made that day. One mistake ... maybe I might risk looking the other way.

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                • #9
                  resident birds in MI are a problem...this year MI added an extra weekend to the early goose season to try to get rid of a few more. i got out for 2 days and saw probably 300-400 geese during those 2 mornings. all of those geese i saw at this point in the year are resident birds.

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                  • #10
                    I have taken a few resident honkers so far this fall, they aren't a plague in our area yet, but there are plenty of them. Hard suckers to hunt here because they dislike calling and wont stray from patterns, been a challenge just getting into places to hunt them. They did increase the possession limit this year, but from what I am seeing it isn't making a huge difference because they stick to private property.

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                    • #11
                      I live in SC Kansas, and the Canada honkers don't migrate; they are a year-round nuisance.

                      I've always wanted to try my hand at waterfowl hunting, but haven't managed to find anyone willing to take me along and show me the ropes.

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                      • #12
                        Honker
                        What is the difference between you shooting, taking illegal hens, and your dog taking illegal hens? Aren't you responsible for what your dog kills? You are more responsible for what your dog is doing than that novice is for shooting a speck. If you can't control the dog, leave it home.

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                        • #13
                          Labrador: as usual you're shooting from the hip without thinking. Labs are flushers. I thought you of all people would know that. They are trained to find birds and kick them up. Their instinct is to catch the bird as opposed to pointers that are bred/trained to hold the bird in place. Flushers can and do catch pheasants. Every one I have owned has. I've even seen them catch ruff grouse. And sometimes they kill or damage the caught birds so badly that they die or will die. It happens. Always has and always will (especially with stupid farm raised planters). Yes, I am responsible for what my dog kills. I usually own up to it and put the bird in the bag and then into the pot in short order. If I get pinched in the process then I'll have to own up to my responsibility and throw myself on the mercy of the court. In most cases I won't leave a bird the dog kills in the field. I really don't see how one is supposed to avoid these mishaps when hunting with flushers especially in thick cover. As I said, I'll probably need to try something different this year. Depending on how the Brittany pup works out, I may elect to keep the labs at heel, or at least Opal. That won't be much fun for them.

                          Last fall Opal caught nine pheasants. All were wild birds. Four were hens and only one of those lived for another day. As I recall she only killed one rooster. Old Pearl even surprised me by catching a fine old rooster by herself the day before I returned home. He was still alive and kicking but pretty much naked. As a young dog I watched her snatch a flushed ruff grouse out of mid air. She is quite soft mouthed but that bird was dead by the time it was in my hand. Was quite a collision.

                          Also, even if a lab doesn't kill a caught upland, it frequently will strip off so many feathers that there is no chance of it surviving, especially towards the end of the season when temps are below freezing.

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                          • #14
                            OH, I don't have all the details. As I understand it, they had seen nothing but snows and blues all morning and shot many. The experienced hunter apparently never thought about specks and the novice didn't remember the specific situation where he shot it. Not sure whether it was embedded in a flock of snows and blues or hanging to the side with a flock of specks.

                            I guess it was pretty foggy right after lunch and the experienced hunter upon discovering the bad situation, grimaced and shoved the speck in a badger hole about 100 yards from where they were hunting. He packed them up to leave immediately and as they were leaving the GW appeared out of the fog. The GW had one of those nosey Labs which sniffed out the whole field while they jawed with the GW. Wouldn't you know it? The good ole Lab retrieved the speck out of the badger hole and the rest is history. The seasoned hunter is still cussing himself for letting hunger get the best of him and not thinking it through and the novice is still afraid to go outside.

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                            • #15
                              Poop happens sometimes.

                              The dog finds a speck. So what? Unless the GW finds the hunters in possession of the bird or can trace ballistics the charge isn't going to stick. I have used my dogs to find other people's birds after shooting a limit of my own. Just because my dog picks up someone else's bird doesn't mean I shot it. In fact, I have every right to leave someone else's bird lie in the field if my dog picks it up. Of course, I wouldn't do that. But once I elect to throw the bird in my bag I AM IN POSSESSION and I could be charged. I would usually prefer being charged to having people think I would just toss a bird in the field. So some other guy comes along hunting behind me and his dog picks up a fresh dead hen pheasant. What is he going to think of the jerk in front of him? Only thing worse than a hen shooter is someone who would throw it away or worse, maybe get some other unknowing person in trouble who stumbles onto it.

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