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2008 spring light goose hunting begins March 1

Minnesota hunters will be allowed to harvest snow geese, including blue-phased and the smaller Ross' geese March 1 to April 30, as part of a federal conservation order.

The state spring harvest of light geese varies dramatically from a few hundred to 6,000, depending on weather conditions.

"Minnesota is at the extreme eastern edge of the spring migration through the Midwest," said Ray Norrgard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wetland wildlife program leader.

"March weather, particularly snow and ice conditions, can have a tremendous effect on the migration routes of light geese."

A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained after Feb. 20 at electronic license system agents. Permits also will be available by telephone at (888) 665-4236 or online after March 1 at

No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate. Permits are free, but there is a $3.50 application fee.

Non-toxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations as well as most regulations that apply to fall goose-hunting seasons also will apply. Electronic calls and unplugged shotguns are allowed.

Refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons also are closed during the spring conservation action. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day. No daily or possession limits apply.

The conservation order is part of an international effort to reduce populations of lesser snow geese, which breed in high Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area.

High populations of the birds cause habitat damage on breeding grounds and negatively impact other bird and waterfowl species that breed in the high Arctic.

A summary of regulations will be available from license vendors, DNR wildlife offices or by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157, or toll-free at (888) 646-6367.