Until September 1, a long eight months from now.

The Special Winter Canada Goose season opened this past Tuesday and will run through sunset, February 15.

A short run, to be sure, exacerbated by the select split hunting zones, one north, one south, with approximately half the state off limits.

The upshots (pun intended)? It’s an opportunity to hunt Canadas, and the daily limit is five, as opposed to the three and two of the north and south zones, and the coastal zone respectively.

The five-bird limit can include white-fronted or cackling geese as well.

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With the white stuff melted into ground stuff history, even in the northern most points in the northernmost counties, it’s all about finding grass fields, winter wheat fields, or fields still harboring waste corn. Along the coast in the southern sector, spartina is the draw.

The birds are hungry, and the open grounds allow them to search, find and then forage with gusto.

This is not to imply they are careless. Au contraire: the survivors of the earlier spit seasons are oftentimes beyond wary and will shy from and refuse to approach a spread if something appears even remotely suspect, with movement a dead giveaway.

Tom P.
Tom P.

Yeah...these late season Canadas can prove almost as frustrating as their magnum flock snow goose kin, especially if they’ve been shot at during the first day or two of the season.

Unlike the Special September Season, electronic calls are not allowed, guns must be plugged (no more than three shell capacity), and hunting hours end at sunset, not half hour after el sol slips below the horizon.

Sure, snow goose and Ross’s goose seasons continue through February 15, with the Conservation Order snow goose season set to open February 16, but at least from this corner, it’s the Canada honkers that best illustrate the Garden State goose hunting experience.

The map illustrating the two hunting zones, complete with a QR code, is on page 63 in the 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Digest, and also in the hunting section on of www.njfishandwildlife.com website.

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