DOVER (Jan. 30, 2015) –The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife is once again implementing an annual Snow Goose Conservation Order, which began in 2009 as part of an Atlantic Flyway-wide effort to reduce the population of greater snow geese. Snow goose numbers have reached levels that threaten to degrade native breeding ground habitat in the Canadian Arctic and also are known to have caused extensive damage to wetlands and agricultural areas where they overwinter in the Mid-Atlantic, including Delaware.
The 2015 Conservation Order to harvest snow geese will open on Monday, Feb. 2 and run through Friday, Feb. 6, then will reopen Monday, Feb. 9 and run through Saturday, April 11.
The Conservation Order is a separate season open only for snow geese which occurs after regular waterfowl hunting seasons close. It was created to harvest greater snow geese as a game management tool to reduce and stabilize the species population. Last year, an estimated 11,000 snow geese were harvested by more than 560 hunters who participated in Delaware’s Conservation Order.
During the Conservation Order, use of unplugged shotguns and electronic calls are allowed, with legal shooting hours starting a half-hour before sunrise and extended to a half-hour after sunset; there are no daily bag and possession limits. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply.
The Conservation Order will be closed on Saturday, Feb. 7, for a special statewide waterfowl hunting day for youth hunters. Regular snow goose hunting will be allowed on this day for all legally licensed waterfowl hunters in Delaware, but the special harvest methods described above are not permitted and the regular-season daily bag limit of 25 snow geese will be in effect on this day.
Most state wildlife areas will be open to hunting during the Conservation Order beginning Monday, Feb. 2. Wildlife areas in New Castle and Sussex counties will be open on a first-come, first-served basis with no registration required, except at the Assawoman Wildlife Area where hunters must self-register at the Assawoman check station. In Kent County, individual sign-in will be required at Woodland Beach, Little Creek and Ted Harvey wildlife areas. Sign-in will not be required at Blackiston, Milford Neck, or Norman G. Wilder wildlife areas. To avoid conflicts with the spring 2015 wild turkey season, snow goose hunting will be prohibited on state wildlife areas after Friday, April 10. Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges are not participating in the Conservation Order.
To participate in the Conservation Order, hunters must obtain a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number by registering at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt.
Individuals needing assistance in obtaining the permit number should call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday. Participants are also required to have a valid Delaware hunting license or a Maryland resident hunting license, a 2014-15 Delaware waterfowl stamp and a Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, with the HIP available at the website above. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required.
Once registered for the snow goose Conservation Order permit, hunters are required to keep this permit number in their possession while hunting and to report their participation and success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Friday, May 1 online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt.