Wet nesting season sets stage for banner snow goose season
WINNIPEG -- One of North America's leading snow goose authorities is predicting a bumper crop of the birds for waterfowl hunters this year. Robert "Rocky" Rockwell, a biology professor at City University of New York, said the summer nesting seaso...
WINNIPEG -- One of North America's leading snow goose authorities is predicting a bumper crop of the birds for waterfowl hunters this year.
Robert "Rocky" Rockwell, a biology professor at City University of New York, said the summer nesting season in the subarctic region of La Perouse Bay in northern Manitoba was "spectacular."
"This is a huge production year," said Rockwell, who was concerned about nesting success after last year's dismal production. "This was the most bizarrely wet year I've ever seen up there. The birds nested nine or 10 days earlier than normal and as a result, nest success was very high."
Translation: Goose hunters are staring down the barrel of what could be a banner fall flight.
"Predicting hunting can be a fool's errand, and I never like to do it, but the upcoming season appears to be shaping up awfully well," Delta Waterfowl President Rob Olson said. "My message to goose hunters is this: Get ready. The migration could be packed with young-of-the-year birds."
Rockwell agrees. He said high nest success means lots of juveniles will be making the flight south. "We're talking about juvenile to adult ratios of 1.5 to 1," says Rockwell, "which means those puppies are going to be sucked right into decoy spreads. Harvest always goes up when you have a high juvenile-to-adult ratio, so I think there's good opportunity and I think it's going to be early, because geese are already moving south."
North Dakota's waterfowl season opens Sept. 25 for residents and Oct. 2 for nonresidents; Minnesota's duck and goose opener is set for Oct. 2.