Tuesday, April 1, 2014

USA National Wildlife Refuge Hunting Opportunities

In March, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officals announced that the agency will expand hunting and fishing opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, opening up new hunting programs on six refuges and expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on another 20 refuges.

The rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing where they are compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 335 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges.

The following refuges will allow hunting for the first time:

New York

Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge


Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge


Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge


Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

USFWS is expanding hunting on the following refuges:


Colusa National Wildlife Refuge


Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge


Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge


Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge


Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area


Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge
Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge


Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge


Mingo National Wildlife Refuge

New Mexico

San Andres National Wildlife Refuge


Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Julia Butler Hanson Refuge for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer (OR and WA)
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge


Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge


Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge


Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

To view a complete list of all hunting/sport fishing opportunities on refuges, please visit the following guides: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/ and http://www.fws.gov/refuges/fishingguide/.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 Vermont Spring Snow Goose Season

In Vermont, a special spring season will open for snow geese as a result of a special management action referred to as a “Conservation Order” allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and adopted by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board.

The measure was adopted at the recommendation of federal and state wildlife scientists in response to concerns about a growing number of snow geese across North America.

Eight states in the Atlantic Flyway (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont) will hold a Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order in 2014.

The Vermont 2014 Spring Snow Goose Conservation Order will occur statewide from March 11 through April 25. A 2014 Spring Snow Goose Harvest Permit is required and is available at no charge on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website (vtfishandwildlife.com). Hunters may also call the Essex Junction Office (802-878-1564) to request a permit.

In addition to this permit, hunters will need a 2014 Vermont hunting license, 2014 Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification, a 2013 federal migratory hunting stamp, and a 2014 Vermont migratory waterfowl stamp.

Hunters can register with the Harvest Information Program by going to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website or by calling toll free 1-877-306-7091 during normal business hours.

Hunters who obtain a permit will be required to complete an online survey after April 25 and prior to May 16, 2014, whether they hunted or not. Hunters without access to the internet may obtain a copy of the survey by calling 802-878-1564.

According to Vermont Fish & Wildlife, snow geese typically move through the Champlain Valley in late March and early April. 

source: Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Maryland Sika Deer Hunting

Maryland is one of several states where opportunities exist for sika deer hunting. During the 2013-2014 Maryland hunting season, hunters harvested 2701 sika deer (1,116 antlered and 1,585 antlerless).

2013-2014 Maryland sika deer harvest summary by county:

County        sika deer harvested

Caroline        3
Dorchester        2555
Somerset        10
Worcester        57

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Jersey Spring Light (Snow) Goose Conservation Order

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife recently announced that the agency will implement a Conservation Order (CO) in New Jersey for light geese during the winter/spring of 2014.

Conservation Order Dates: February 17 - April 5, 2014, except Sundays.

CO participants can obtain a permit through the Division's license web site at www.nj.wildlifelicense.com/.

Hunters who do not have internet access can have a permit mailed to them.

Best Areas in New Jersey for Snow Geese

1. Delaware Bay tidal marshes and nearby inland farm fields contain the most light geese. Nearly 100,000 light geese are estimated in these areas during the Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey in early January.

2. Considerable numbers of light geese can be found in central New Jersey. Flocks in this region range far and wide and are usually found in an area from Cranbury to Roosevelt to Wrightstown to Burlington.

Central New Jersey flocks typically total 5-10 thousand birds. Generally, these birds are found field feeding on private farms necessitating obtaining landowner permission for access.

3. Light geese are found in the northern part of the state centered on Merrill Creek Reservoir near Phillipsburg. Merrill Creek is used primarily as a roosting and loafing site; the reservoir itself is not open to waterfowl hunting. These flocks range far and wide on a daily basis and are usually found from Belvidere to Washington to Clinton to Flemington.

Northern flocks typically exceed 15,000 birds in January and can build to over 75,000 birds in late winter. Most of these flocks are also found on private farms.

4. Light geese can be found in and around Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville. Mean Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey counts from early January are typically about 5,000 birds in this region.

The Division administers a wide range of public land as Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Key WMAs for spring light geese include (from south to north): Dennis Creek, Heislerville, Egg Island, Fortescue, Nantuxent, New Sweden, Dix and Mad Horse Creek. A list of WMAs and maps can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com/wmaland.htm.

Light Goose Hunting Information

The Atlantic Flyway Council offers a booklet, Successful Hunting Tactics for Greater Snow Geese that includes hunting tactics to help boost success when hunting light geese.

Also, a light goose cookbook with many recipes and hunting tips can be found at:


source: NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife