North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set, and bag limits and licensing requirements are the same as last year. However, the west boundary of the Missouri River Canada Goose zone, north of N.D. Highway 200, is extended to N.D. Highway 8.
The season will open Tuesday, Aug. 15 and continue through Sept. 15, except in the Missouri River Zone where the season ends Sept. 7. The early Canada goose season has a limit of 15 daily and 45 in possession.
Limits and shooting hours for the early season are different from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.
Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.
A federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older, and Harvest Information Program certification, are both required beginning Sept. 1.
Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy a North Dakota license, can add it later through the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 888-634-4798 and recording the HIP number on their printed license. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required in each state only once per year.
Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.
Landowners with Canada goose depredation issues are encouraged to allow access to goose hunters during the early and regular waterfowl seasons.
In 2016, North Dakota early Canada goose season hunters bagged more than 36,000 birds – the sixth consecutive year hunters reached that number. Top counties for total harvest were Ramsey, McIntosh, Kidder, Benson and Stutsman.
Hunters are urged to keep up with the daily rural fire danger index, issued by the National Weather Service, to alert the public to conditions that may be conducive to accidental starting or spread of fires.
In addition, county governments have the authority to adopt penalties for violations of county restrictions related to burning bans. These restrictions apply regardless of the daily fire danger index, and remain in place until each county’s commission rescinds the ban.
Hunters should consider bringing along a shovel, fire extinguisher, extra water and heavy fabric for putting out accidental fires. However, individuals who are not trained firefighters should not attempt to fight a fire that is out of control. Instead, contact the nearest fire department immediately.
The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours, the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.
For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website.