As this summer draws to a close and the days get shorter, it’s already time to start discussing the upcoming hunting seasons.
After a three-year hiatus, the August management harvest for Canada geese is back, providing excellent hunting opportunities. Above normal water conditions over the past two years in northeastern South Dakota have resulted in an increase in nesting habitat for Canada Geese. That being said, the number of geese seen in the landscape has increased significantly and necessitates the relocation of this hunting opportunity.
This is a Canada Geese-only August management catch for Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Edmunds, Faulk, Hamlin, Hanson, Hutchinson, Grant, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Turner, Union and Yankton. The West River opportunities are in Meade County south of State Road 34 and in Pennington County west of Cheyenne.
The season is from August 21 to 31. The daily bag limit is 15 Canada Geese and an unlimited possession limit. Make sure you are properly licensed with a 2021 Wetsuit, Small Game License or Small Game One Day License. Young people (12 to 18 years old) will need their small game license.
In addition to any of these permits, you will need your 2021 Migratory Bird Certificate. You do not need the 2021 Federal Waterfowl Stamp for the August management catch. However, you will need it at the start of the September season.
In the past, some game processors took geese harvested for Sportsmen Against Hunger. You can refer to gfp.sd.gov and search Sportsmen Against Hunger for a current list of processors participating in this great program.
If you’re planning on taking young hunters aspiring to harvest a Canada goose, now would be a great time to take them out now and practice with their shotguns. Waterfowl hunting in general has seen a decline in recruitment of young hunters and this is a great opportunity to get young people out and teach them all about the sport and what it has to offer.
Some local waterfowl hunting groups here in the northeast part of our state provide opportunities by hosting youth waterfowl camps and hunting events. Contact your local conservation officer if you are interested in such an event.
A few common courtesies to remember during this season, when getting permission to hunt on private property, be sure to pack what you pack. Often in the past, we conservation officers would receive many complaints about harvested geese littering county roads. When researching these offenders, the common theme was that the meat was getting too hot and spoiled before processing could take place. With the late start date of the August management hold, hopefully this will eliminate the meat spoilage factor with (hopefully) cooler temperatures and fewer spoiled geese.
If you encounter littered geese or any other suspected wildlife crime, you can certainly contact your local conservation officer directly or call the TIPs (Turn-In-Poachers) hotline at 1-888-OVERBAG. Have a safe hunting season and don’t forget to throw on insect repellent as mosquitoes might still be around even with drier than normal conditions.
Tim McCurdy is District Conservation Officer Supervisor for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.