September season targets resident geese
By Dennis Jensen
Staff Writer

The number of resident Canada geese in Vermont has grown to such numbers in recent years that waterfowl hunters are offered two hunting seasons.

The first hunting season for Canada geese is targeted specifically at resident birds. That season occurs Sept. 7-25.

Resident birds, according to Bill Crenshaw, are those Canada geese that nest within the state.

Crenshaw, a wildlife biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, who coordinates the migratory game bird programs for the department, said that the purpose of the September season is to help control Vermont’s resident Canada goose population prior to the arrival of Canada geese migrating south from Canada.

“The September season targets resident geese,” he said. “We will not harvest the migrant geese that come out of Canada” in October and November. “This is a method that the states can use to harvest local birds without impacting the migrant geese.”

The second Canada goose season, which targets both resident and migrant birds, will be held Oct. 20 – Dec. 3.

Resident geese can be troublesome and costly, when it comes to cleaning up the large droppings they leave behind as they feed along. Dozens of geese can cause a serious mess.

“Resident Canada geese can tend to cause problems, on golf courses, public beaches, private property, lake shore property and parks,” Crenshaw said.

Big lawns, particularly near water, naturally attract resident geese, Crenshaw said.

“Geese are grazers. They eat clover and alfalfa. Lawns and golf courses make perfect goose feeding habitat, so they can become problematic. We get a number of calls every year from people who have problems with geese, and we try address the problems on an individual basis. One of the techniques we use to control populations is a hunting season,” he said.

The daily bag limit for resident birds is five Canada geese except in that portion of the Lake Champlain Zone within Addison County north of Route 125, where the limit will be two per day.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 resident geese will be taken this season, Crenshaw said.

“We also shoot a large number of resident geese during the regular goose season,” he said. “Resident geese have become an important part of the Canada goose harvest in Vermont. They now make up about 75 percent of the total Canada goose harvest in Vermont.”

The second Canada goose hunting season, which targets both resident and migrant birds, allows a daily bag limit of three Canada geese in the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont Zones. In the Connecticut River Zone, the Canada goose season will run at the same time as the duck season (Oct. 5-Nov. 7 and Nov. 24-Dec. 19) with a daily bag limit of two Canada geese.

Anyone hunting during either season must have a Vermont hunting license, as well a federal duck stamp ($15) and a state duck stamp ($7.50), Crenshaw said. “And you need to be registered with the Harvest Information Program. Go to our website ( and click on the Harvest Information Program. Fill out a short survey and you will get a number, which you then have to write on your license.” he said.

Migratory game bird hunters, including woodcock hunters, are required to register with the HIP, annually, as well as in every state in which they hunt migratory game birds, according to Crenshaw.

“This is very important, because this (the HIP data) is where all the harvest information on migratory birds is derived from,” he said.

A resident goose population was first established in Vermont some 50 years ago.

“The first record of Canada geese nesting in Vermont was around 1960,” Crenshaw said. “We established a population at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, a waterfowl refuge.”

Along the Atlantic Flyway, Crenshaw said, the population of resident Canada geese is about one million birds.