Let It Snow…Geese!
Fat chance, at least in the foreseeable future (read: 2-3 weeks in the churning Rack & Fin Radio timetable) of seeing any appreciable frozen white precipitation.
However, there is plenty of whiteness in the form of greater snow geese and, to a smaller extent, lesser snows (differentiated by size and breeding grounds) and Ross’ geese. These are lumped in the “Light Goose” category when consulting page 62 in the 2022-23 NJ Hunting & Trapping Digest.
Although the general season, with its 25 bird limit, concluded this past Wednesday, the Light Goose Conservation Order hunt commenced Thursday, and it’s a no-hold-barred tactic to reduce light goose numbers to a point where they are not too damaging to the respective habitats via their near 100k wintering numbers.
Restrictions are loosened. Electronic calls are allowed, unplugged shotguns (no more than seven shells) and, check it: NO BAG LIMIT!
Far easier said than done, that’s for sure, as the quarry is wary to the point of psychosis. And, being gregarious to the "nth-degree," dictates the employ of 200-plus, maybe many more predicated on the hunting area.
Indeed, the “unlimited bag” is the holiest of waterfowl grails when it comes to numbers and poundage of the roast beef-like dark meat breasts. When it’s “on”, the shooting can make shotgun barrels hot, shell counts rapidly diminish, and a long bed pick-up to stack the harvest. When it’s not, such as when the ever-capricious flocks decide to feed in another field as opposed to the one where the decoy spread is meticulous (after days of scouting) and the calls beyond seductive, it’s an exasperating experience.
Translate to challenging.
Snow goose flocks are no longer limited to the Cumberland/Salem county salt marshes, although these are where the most numerous numbers can be found. The white birds have, for a couple of decades, although in lesser numbers, frequenting the likes of Warren, Morris, and Hunterdon counties.
A permit ($2) is required to hunt during the Conservation Order season. This is only available online via www.njfishandwilflife.com...then wade through the connections.
As permit requirements, recording the harvest(s), even if a zero as per the effort, is mandatory, and will go to great lengths to increase the effectiveness of the program.