Ross's goose swimming (Photo:  Dick Daniels / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Ross's goose swimming (Photo: Dick Daniels / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Spring 2017 Conservation Harvest Season for Snow and Ross's Geese

As spring warms up, goose migration is just around the corner and with it, the spring 2017 conservation harvest season.   You can find up-to-date information in this poster for the 2017 spring snow and Ross's goose hunt, and in the summary of 2016-2017 migratory hunting regulations for the Northwest Territories. 

As in spring 2016, it is legal for non-beneficiaries to hunt these two overabundant species as per the dates, areas and bag limits outlined in the attached poster and regulations. New this year is the opportunity for non-beneficiaries to apply for a permit to hunt in Migratory Birds Sanctuaries.

Note that these regulations do not affect aboriginal hunters.

Here’s some information on these geese.

Photo:  Landing Snow Goose. (Manjithkaini / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Snow Goose

  • Snow geese are mostly white except for black wingtips noticeable in flight.
  • These geese can form flocks of several hundred thousand. Family groups forage on wintering grounds, digging up roots and tubers from muddy fields and marshes.
  • Snow geese pass high overhead in their migration north to breed on the Arctic tundra.
  • In recent years, they have skyrocketed in numbers and are now among the most abundant waterfowl in North America.

Photo:  Ross's goose on wintering grounds in California.  (Michael L. Baird / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Ross's Goose

  • The Ross's goose is like a miniature version of the Snow goose, mostly white except for black wing tips and a pink bill. 
  • Ross's geese breed in the central Arctic and winter mostly in central California.
  • These geese have a “dainty” personality in contrast to Snow geese.  They carefully pluck grass rather than root in mud, so they don’t have the rusty staining often seen on a snow goose’s face!

Photo:  Snow Goose Close-up  (Gurch / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)  The snow goose has a larger bill than a Ross's goose has and without the greenish base.  It also has a black grin patch along the edge of its billl. (black "lips").