Late winter offers plenty of hunting; snow geese may be taken through April 30
PRATT -- Abundant numbers of Canada, white-fronted, and snow geese are keeping many waterfowl hunters afield this February. Morning and evening, avid hunters may be found in cut grain fields, decoys arrayed, waiting for giant flocks of geese to leave their daytime resting spots and fly above the landscape to feed. The hunting is good, and the harvest makes fine winter table fare.

As of Feb. 2, the reported number of geese in Kansas was approximately 500,000, but those numbers vary greatly. Currently, the top three areas for geese are Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) with 200,000; Glen Elder Wildlife Area (WA) with 89,000; and Wilson WA with 9,000. (Cheyenne Bottoms WA reports fluctuations of 15,000-50,000 geese, and McPherson Wetlands reports "several thousand.") These numbers are approximate and can fluctuate daily, so it's good to check the nearest Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) office for the latest information. Updated waterfowl reports may also be found on the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us.

Canada goose season runs through Feb. 15 statewide. The remaining white-fronted goose season runs Feb. 7-15. Light geese (Ross', snow, and blue) may be hunted through April 30.

All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must have a federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, and all hunters who are required to obtain a license must also have a Kansas State Waterfowl Habitat Stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp before attempting to take ducks and geese. (Those not required to have a Kansas hunting license include people hunting their own land and residents 15 and younger or 65 and older.)

Waterfowl and HIP stamps purchased during the fall 2008 seasons are valid through the winter and spring of 2009.