Joe Balog was born and raised on the Great Lakes, where he's earned a living as a charter boat captain, pro bass fisherman and outdoor communicator. As waterfowl editor for Realtree.com, Balog was bitten by the duck bug while hunting the world famous St. Clair Flats. Between duck hunting, fishing, and dog training, Balog spends some 300 days a year on the water.
Balog on Early Season Geese
“North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set, and the season will open Aug. 15. The limits are 15 daily and 30 in possession.”
Those were the most eye-opening sentences I read when researching the early goose seasons that are opening up all around the country this time of year. Fifteen a day?
Obviously, there’s a major overpopulation problem going on in North Dakota. Sometimes late at night, I lie awake and wish I was a more avid goose hunter. My duck season is micro-compressed into a two-month period when compared to that of the honker blasters. They get to start in the summer and end in February. Not fair. But geese are a whole different animal, as they say.
Thanks, in part, to the Federal Refuge system, ducks were given another chance years ago, when numbers bottomed out. Today, we have a pretty thriving population as a whole. But geese have refuges in every neighborhood. They’re the same places where businessmen spend their Fridays: golf courses. Every park, every condo complex with a retention pond, every golf course, anywhere there’s water, there’re geese. And goose poop. At my local marina, the boat docks are so covered in it. Your choice is to:
A. Get poop all over your shoes, and track it into the boat, or
B. Take your shoes off, get it all over your feet, and then put your shoes back on.
But, getting back to the point: obviously there are plenty of geese. Nine out of 10 little old ladies who live on the lake love ducks. And they all hate geese. So, the answer given us by the powers that be is that we can go out in the summer and shoot as many as 15 a day in some locales. But yet, in the same areas of the country, the daily limit drops to three for the remainder of the “regular” season. I just can’t seem to comprehend the thinking that goes into that. Here in Michigan, the goose season runs early, where you can hammer on ‘em, then closes for a good portion of the regular waterfowl season. I'm told that the reasoning behind this is to cull the "resident" geese in the early season, and back down when the "migrators" go through. Maybe. But it makes sense to me that, just maybe, Missouri's migrators are simply South Dakota's residents. You think?
If overpopulation is the problem, wouldn’t the answer be to allow hunters to harvest more when most hunters are actually hunting, rather than the early season, when few actually hunt? I, for one, will be spending this weekend in the lake, rather than on lake, hunting. It’s going to be 90 degrees. But, for those of you who have recently kicked off the season, or will so this week, hang a couple of honkers for me. The little old lady next door hates them…