Nine populations of geese occur in Kansas, with all but one, the Eastern Prairie Canada Goose Population, being at, or above, their population objective. Kansas is located within the Central Flyway and shares its goose resources with the other states of that Flyway, Canada, and to a lesser extent the Mississippi Flyway.

The primary goose populations occurring in Kansas originate from the Arctic regions of Canada, provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and east tier states of the Central Flyway (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas itself). Throughout North America geese are managed at the population level. Within the Central Flyway, goose populations are usually defined as being composed of one or more races or species, grouped in aggregations based on wintering range similarities. This approach is a mix of biology and politics which facilitates the management of these species.


Of the nine populations of geese that occur in Kansas, seven occur in significant numbers at some time during the annual cycle. The resident Canada geese are members of the Great Plains Population which range from the southern areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, through North Dakota and south into northern Texas. The other population of large Canada geese which occurs in Kansas is the Western Prairie Population, which nests in eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba and winters from North Dakota south to northern Texas. These two populations are comprised of large birds ( Branta canadensis maxima, moffitti and interior), and are largely the results of restoration efforts throughout their range. The Great Plains and Western Prairie Populations are managed jointly through one management plan.

In contrast to the large Canada geese, small Canada geese, light geese and white-fronted geese tend to nest farther north in the Arctic regions of the continent. Although they nest farther north than large Canada’s, they tend to winter farther south, with small Canada’s, white-fronts and light geese being common along the GulfCoast and south into Mexico.

canada goose

Single Canada Goose

Two populations of small Canada geese occur in Kansas. Members of the Tall Grass Prairie Population are oriented to the eastern two thirds of the state, while the Short Grass Prairie Population is found in the western third of Kansas. These two populations are comprised of small races of Canada geese ( B. C. Parvipes and Hutchinsii).

One population of white-fronted geese and two populations of light (lesser snow geese and Ross') geese also occur here. The Mid-Continent Population of white-fronted geese ( Anser albifrons frontalis) occurs throughout Kansas during the migration and winter seasons, but is most common in the mid-section of the state. The Mid-Continent Population of light geese is composed primarily of lessor snow geese ( Anser caerulescens caerulescens), with some Ross’ geese ( Anser rossii), and is most common in the eastern third of the state, while the Western Central Flyway Population of light geese occurs on the extreme western edge of Kansas and includes a significant proportion of Ross' geese.

In addition to the seven primary populations of geese which occur in Kansas, two populations of Canada geese common to the Mississippi Flyway visit our state. The first, the Eastern Prairie Population (EPP), comprise a significant proportion of the geese which winter at, or near, the Marais des CygnesWA, and may contribute a major share of the Canada goose harvest at that area and throughout southeast Kansas during some years. EPP Canada geese consist of B. C. interior race and nest in the Hudson Bay Lowlands of Manitoba and winter primarily in Missouri. Unlike other populations of geese common to Kansas, and those in the Central Flyway, it remains very near, or below the population objective.

The second population of Canada geese that occurs in Kansas, but originates in the Mississippi Flyway, comes from the Mississippi Flyway Giant Population. A segment of the restoration birds from Minneapolis, Minnesota, which belong to this population, developed a migration pattern to Wichita, Kansas. It is possible that up to 40 percent of the Canada goose harvest in SedgwickCounty is composed of geese from Minnesota.

Currently, with the exception of EPP geese, all populations of geese common to Kansas are at or above their population objectives. In fact, light goose populations have increased to the point where they are causing significant long-term damage to their breeding habitat.

The history of goose management in Kansas and the Central Flyway is one of success. During the early 1960’s slightly more than 200,000 Canada geese were observed during the winter surveys in the Central Flyway. In January 2001, approximately 1.25 million were reported. Not all geese are observed or reported during operational surveys, but the trend is obvious, and utilized for management decisions. The numbers for white-fronts, Ross’ geese and Snow geese show the same trends, with light goose (Ross’ and snow geese) numbers being more than double the population objective. Wild nesting Canada geese occurred in fewer than six counties in our state immediately prior to 1980, when the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks initiated the most recent restoration effort. Since that time resident Canada geese have been established throughout the state where suitable habitat occurs, including all counties in the eastern two-thirds of the state.

115-04-02 (PDF - 16.75 kB)

Big Game and Wild Turkey - General provisions

115-04-04 (PDF - 17.63 kB)

Big Game - Legal Equipment and Taking Methods.

115-04-06 (PDF - 23.25 kB)

Deer - Management Units

115-04-11 (PDF - 27.12 kB)

Big Game and Wild Turkey - Permit Applications.

115-04-13 (PDF - 17.37 kB)

Deer Permits - Descriptions and Restrictions.

115-16-04 (PDF - 143.07 kB)

Big Game Control Permit - Application, Requirements and Provisions.

115-18-04 (PDF - 140.88 kB)

Permits for Hunting from a Vehicle - Applications and Requirements

115-18-07 (PDF - 16.62 kB)

Use of crossbows for big game hunting by persons with disabilities - Application, Permit, and General Provisions

115-18-08 (PDF - 58.99 kB)

Retrieval and possession of game animals and migratory game birds - Requirements

115-18-15 (PDF - 140.43 kB)

Disablility Assistance Permit - Application, Permit, and General Provisions.


The ability of hunters to identify and select desired targets before shooting is important in managing the harvest and allowing maximum hunting opportunity without jeopardizing the future of our waterfowl resource.

For help with waterfowl identification go to


.A number of population and harvest surveys are conducted annually that are utilized in the development of waterfowl management programs and regulations. To view data for Kansas and the Central Flyway, click here.


Light Geese - The harvest trend of light geese in Kansas is surprising. Despite the population growth

Light goose harvest

through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the Kansas regular season light goose harvest remained relatively unchanged during those years, averaging about 6,200 birds per year. However, harvest has jumped during recent years, averaging almost 18,000 for the 1999–03 period. Of particular interest is the harvest of Ross’ geese. For many years these small geese were considered rare, and the bag limit was held at no more than one bird per day. From 1962 through 1989 only 123 were recorded in the Federal Harvest Survey for the state of Kansas. Beginning in the mid 90’s they began showing up in the harvest on a regular basis and in 2003 an estimated harvest of 5,800 occurred in Kansas. It is believed that much of this harvest occurs in the western one third of Kansas, where Ross’ geese are commonly observed in light goose flocks belonging to the Western Central Flyway Population of Light Geese.


Light Goose Conservation Order - The present challenge associated with light geese is to correct overabundant populations and resulting habitat problems they cause. There had been a steady procession of hunting liberalizations from the mid 80’s through the mid 90’s, but these proved too little, too late, and light goose population continued to grow. It became obvious that the light goose harvest had been maximized through what could be accomplished within the hunting frameworks allowed by treaty. In 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized a Conservation Order harvest of light geese. This Conservation Order allows the take of light geese outside the normal October 1 through March 10 treaty parameters, and authorized new regulations such as the use of unplugged shotguns, electronic calls, and shooting hours extending 1/2 hour after sunset.

Within Kansas, the Conservation order allows the take of geese beginning immediately after the end of the regular season until April 30. During this season, Kansas hunters have harvested about 23,000 additional light geese per year, in addition to those taken during the regular season. It is obvious from the harvest estimates that the Conservation Order Season is important to Kansas Hunters and the final harvest total.

It is too early to determine whether the added harvest allowed by the Conservation Order Season will reverse the growth of the mid-continent light goose population. However, to date the results are encouraging. Winter counts peaked in 1997-98 and appear to have stabilized or even declined slightly since then. Only time will tell. In any event, hunters will undoubtedly be major contributors to the solution of this problem.


White-fronted Geese – Historically, white-fronted geese have not been a major harvest species in Kansas. From 1962 through 1999, the harvest averaged less than 2,000, and never exceeded the 6,000 birds harvested in 1972. However, during recent years (2000–03) whitefront numbers have increased, and they are staying longer. The result is that the harvest has increased accordingly. During these four years the harvest has averaged about 9,000 birds.


Canada Geese – Canada geese are the primary target of Kansas goose hunters. There have been some impressive changes in the harvest of these birds in our state since the early 1960’s. During the

Canada goose harvest

60’s, Canada goose harvest averaged less than 10,000. The harvest gradually increased though the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. However, from the late 90’s through the 2003 season there has been a rather dramatic increase in the take of Canada geese in Kansas. During the 1999 through 2003 seasons, Kansas hunters harvested an average of almost 92,000 Canada’s, with a peak harvest of 124,000 in 2003. During 2002 and 2003, for the first time in history, the harvest of Canada geese exceeded the harvest of mallards in Kansas.

Another significant change in the harvest of Canada geese is the proportion of the harvest that is composed of large Canada’s. During the 1960’s only about 25 percent of the Canada goose harvest was large birds. This figure has increased over the years, and has occasionally exceeded 80 percent during recent years. What has occurred is that the total harvest of small Canada geese has remained relatively unchanged while harvest of large Canada’s has increased dramatically.


All Goose Harvest - The total Kansas harvest of all goose species combined has tracked the population trends, increasing from about 11,000 per year during the 60’s, to about 38,000 average

KS total goose harvest

during the 1990’s. However, during recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the total goose harvest, with an estimated average annual harvest approaching 118,000 during the past five years (1999-03), and peaking at 160,000 in 2003.

There have been some minor changes in the species composition of the harvest. During the 1960’s, Canada geese comprised 60 percent of the Kansas harvest, increasing to 72 percent during the 1990’s. This increase has come at the expense of white-fronted geese, which decreased from approximately 10 percent during the 60’s to 3 percent during the 90’s, and light geese, which saw their proportion of the Kansas harvest drop from 31 percent to 25 percent. This change in the species make-up of the Kansas goose harvest is due to the large increase in harvest of Canada geese.

The recreational value of the harvest and hunter opportunity provided by geese in the Central Flyway and Kansas is obvious. However, their widespread range, high visibility, and tolerance of close human contact results in geese, both resident Canada as well as winter concentrations, being the most observed wildlife in Kansas. Because of this, the non-consumptive benefits of geese, and waterfowl in general, are probably greater than that provided by any other species we manage.

The growth of our goose populations has been matched with the liberalization of hunting regulations. During the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s goose hunting regulations were relatively restrictive in the Central Flyway, as managers tried to build populations and establish nesting resident Canada geese. During the 1964 waterfowl season, Kansas hunters were allowed a 75 day goose season running from October 3 through December16, with a bag limit of 5 geese, which could include no more than 1 Ross’ goose, 2 Canada geese, or 1 Canada and 1 white-fronted goose. In 2005, Kansas hunters were allowed an 84 day white-fronted goose season with a bag limit of 2 whitefronts, a 95 day Canada goose season with a bag limit of 3 Canada geese, and a 107 day light goose season with a bag limit of 20.


The giant Canada goose ( Branta canadensis maxima) once occurred and nested over a large portion of the Great Plains, from the Great Lakes west to the continental divide, and from the prairie pothole region of south central Canada south to Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee.

During the late 1800's and early 1900's their numbers were reduced as the settlement of that region took place. Excessive hunting and robbing of eggs were the main factors contributing to this decline. For a period of time many thought the giant Canada goose to be extinct.

Information on the early distribution of nesting Canada geese in Kansas is limited. It is believed that they nested on some of the major marshes such as Cheyenne Bottoms and the McPherson Wetlands as well as along some river systems. The last nesting Canada geese in Kansas were probably eliminated sometime in the early 1900's.

The earliest documented efforts to restore resident Canada geese in Kansas occurred at the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms in the late 50's and early 60's. In both instances, the geese were able to nest and produce young. However, the lack of an effective refuge with a food source at Cheyenne Bottoms resulted in an excessive harvest rate of those resident birds. The flock eventually declined to a remnant level where it remains today. At the Kirwin NWR, declining reservoir levels resulted in a reduction of available nest habitat on the reservoir itself. Some of the Kirwin birds began nesting on nearby privately owned stock ponds, returning to the refuge during late summer and early fall. As with the Cheyenne Bottoms geese, excessive harvest during the early portion of the season, prior to the arrival of large numbers of migrants, has resulted in only a remnant population remaining in and around the Kirwin NWR.

During the early to mid 70's, several Canada goose restoration projects were initiated by private individuals or groups. One, located on the Plumthicket Ranch in BarberCounty, was successful in establishing a flock which appears to have stabilized at about 100 birds. Another effort of greater magnitude was begun by individuals near Sylvia and Plevna in RenoCounty, and was very successful, with an estimated fall population of 700 in 1989.

In 1980, a project to restore resident Canada geese to Kansas was initiated by the Kansas Fish and Game Commission. This project has involved a number of approaches and techniques, including the release of geese relocated from other states, the release of goslings produced at several department facilities, and the relocation of unwanted birds from areas within our state.

From 1980 through 1989, approximately 10,000 Canada geese (6,000 goslings and 4,000 adults) were released in Kansas. In recent years nesting Canada geese have become a common sight on wetlands across our state. The primary problem at this time is maintaining a desired distribution, with fewer located in urban areas where they create nuisance situations, and more located in a dispersed fashion across the rural areas of our state..


Food is a powerful force on all migratory birds, and an adequate supply is absolutely necessary if birds are to remain in an area. Together, "Food and Sanctuary" are the cornerstones of waterfowl management in migration and wintering areas of North America.

Historically, adequate food for geese has not been considered a problem in Kansas due to the abundance of green wheat and waste corn and milo. However, recent improvements in the efficiency of harvesting equipment have reduced the amount of waste grain from 5 percent in the 1970’s to about 2 percent today. Design engineers of farm harvesting equipment expect to further reduce waste grain losses to 1 percent in the near future. This increased harvesting efficiency, combined with record numbers of ducks, geese and cranes, has resulted in documented declines in body condition of birds in Nebraska from as recently as the 1970’s. Cranes and geese are required to fly further from refuge and roosting areas to feed and they must feed longer to obtain necessary energy to maintain body condition. This trend of declining food supplies could result in geese moving to other areas or states to find locations where they can obtain the required units of energy required to maintain or improve body condition.

Goose management activities by KDWP are aimed at providing the food and sanctuary requirements of geese. Management activities take place on public lands, while most hunting opportunity and harvest occurs on nearby private areas. Without management directed at geese on our public lands there would be little harvest or viewing opportunities in our state.


Management “units” or “zones” have been used in Kansas to modify harvest of Canada geese in areas of specific management concern.

In general, units were designated in the early to mid-1980s to protect goose restoration efforts in the eastern one-third of the state. However, as management goals have been met, units and hunting restrictions have been modified. The Marais des Cygnes Valley Unit, created in 1982, was terminated in August 2007. Two other units -- one in the Topeka/Lawrence/Kansas City area and the other in the Wichita area -- were terminated in 2005. Those units were established to provide hunting opportunity and encourage harvest of nuisance Canada geese near those urban areas with an early season in September, but were terminated due to extremely low hunter participation and goose harvest.

Southeast Unit

The season on dark geese was closed in the Southeast Unit in 1987 to protect local Canada geese being released as part of the restoration effort that was initiated in 1984. In addition to reducing the harvest of resident birds, this closure also encouraged greater use by migrating geese. Harvest restrictions have been gradually relaxed through the years, and currently the season is the same as the regular statewide season. The status of the resident Canada geese will be monitored with the Spring Resident Goose Survey, and should numbers decline, harvest restrictions will be reinstated.



Regulations governing the take of geeseare set annually. Click the links below for more information.

Goose Season Dates, Bag Limits, and Possession Limits,

Licenses, Fees, and Stamps,

Non-Toxic Shot Regulations and Areas,

Legal and Illegal Methods of Take


Other regulations that hunters frequently request information for:


One fully-feathered wing and /or head must remain attached to waterfowl when transported.


No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: 1) the name and address of the person sending the birds, 2) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent, and 3) the number of birds, by species, contained in the package.

Giving or Receiving Waterfowl

No person may receive, possess, or give to another, any freshly killed migratory game birds as a gift, except at the personal abodes of the donor or donee, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter who took the birds, stating the hunter’s address, the total number and species of birds, and the date such birds were taken.

Tagging Requirements

No person shall put or leave any migratory game birds at any place (other than at his personal abode), or in the custody of another person for picking, cleaning, processing, shipping, transportation, or storage (including temporary storage), or for the purpose of having taxidermy services performed, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter, stating his address, the total number and species of birds, and the date such birds were killed. Migratory game birds being transported in any vehicle as the personal baggage of the possessor are not considered as being in storage or temporary storage.

Electronic or Mechanically Operated Decoys

The use of electronic or mechanically operated decoys that do not produce bird sounds is legal.

Wanton Waste

By regulation, hunters must attempt to find any game crippled or killed. Retrieved animals must be kept until: 1) cleaned, 2) eaten, 3) taken home, 4) taken to a taxidermist or processor, or 5) given to another person.

Possession of Live Birds

Wounded waterfowl reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag.

Baiting Regulations

Baiting regulations differ between doves and waterfowl, and are among the most troublesome for hunters to understand. For detailed information on waterfowl baiting click on the following web site -

Some general baiting rules that "WATERFOWL" hunters should remember:

- They may not place, expose, deposit, distribute or scatter salt, grain or other feed that could lure waterfowl to, on or over the area where they are hunting.

- They may not hunt a baited area until 10 days after all bait or feed has been completely removed.

- Hunters are responsible for ensuring that the area they plan on hunting has not been baited before they start hunting.

- Hunters may hunt all migratory game birds over natural vegetation that has been mowed or manipulated in other ways, or where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as a result of a normal agricultural planting or normal soil stabilization practice.

- Hunters may use natural vegetation to conceal or construct a blind.

- Hunters may hunt waterfowl over standing crops, standing flooded crops and flooded harvested cropland.


Goose Management Unit Maps


Marais des Cygnes Valley and Southeast Unit Maps



Kansas City Early Goose Zone


Wichita Early Goose Zone




Information obtained from band recoveries reported by hunters and other individuals is, along with harvest and population data, critical to the management of our waterfowl resources.

Information derived from banding includes the distribution of the harvest from a particular banding area, the timing of the harvest and most importantly, the harvest rate. This information is utilized annually in the development of harvest frameworks and final regulations.

To report a band click the following web site -

Or call 1/800/327-2263.


Canada geese nesting in Kansas

In some urban and suburban areas in Kansas, Canada goose populations have increased substantially during the past 20 years. Some of these geese remain in Kansas to nest and are called “resident Canada geese”. As resident Canada goose numbers have increased, public attitudes toward them have become more negative. However, the same number of geese in a community can be viewed dramatically differently by individual homeowners. At one extreme, some people want to get rid of every goose and others are very protective of “their” geese. These conflicts among the human population make management of resident Canada geese challenging.

Landowners and homeowners associations can use a variety of techniques to manage resident Canada geese. These include landscaping to make their property less attractive to Canada geese, hazing or harassing geese with a dog or lasers, and repellents.

In some situations destruction of nests and eggs may be warranted. Such actions require a permit from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. For more information regarding Resident Canada goose managment, contact the appropriate KDWPT Regional Office for your area.


 Location  Name  Phone  e-mail
Northwest Kansas   (785) 628-8614  
Northeast Kansas   (785) 273-6740  
Southwest Kansas   (620) 227-8609  
South-Central Kansas   (316) 683-8069  
Southeast Kansas   (620) 431-0380  
Kansas City Andy Friesen (913) 422-1314
Wichita Charlie Cope (316) 683-8635 ext. 126
Statewide Tom Bidrowski 620-566-1456