The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is again offering a late season for hunting Canada geese.
The season runs Feb. 1-15 in 30 counties: Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, LaPorte, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko, Noble, DeKalb, Allen, Whitley, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan and Greene.
The late season helps control the population of the breeding “giant” subspecies of Canada geese around urban areas, a common issue in Indiana and surrounding states. Indiana has offered hunters a late Canada goose season in select counties every February since 2008.
A valid hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp privilege, signed federal duck stamp and a HIP (Harvest Information Program) number are required to hunt during this season.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first granted Indiana a late season for Canada goose as a three-year experiment with a requirement that at least 80 percent of geese harvested during that period needed to be giant Canada geese.
Indiana has now met the Fish and Wildlife Service's criteria in all areas, and as a result the free permit that had been issued in previous late seasons is no longer required. Checking of shot geese is also no longer required.
In 2012, the state issued late-season Canada goose permits to 4,362 hunters and 3,287 of them hunted, DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps said.
Indiana hunters harvested 8,076 Canada geese during the 2012 late season, almost 1,600 more than in 2011, according to estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The total late-season harvest for Indiana across all five years is estimated at 33,500 geese.
The season may be closed in future years if local Canada goose populations are sufficiently reduced.