Oil the shotguns, grab some boxes of steel shot shells and call out the dogs because this year's early Canada goose opens Thursday, Sept. 1, in Peannsylvania.
This year's early statewide season for resident Canada geese will continue through Saturday, Sept. 24. Other than for a few specific areas, the early season retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese and possession limit of 16.
Also opening September 1 is the first of Pennsylvania's three dove seasons, which have seen some changes due to the way the calendar falls this year, and in all three seasons, the daily bag limit is 15 and the possession limit is 30.
During the first season, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 1, hunting will start at noon and close at sunset daily; the second and third seasons are Saturday, Oct. 29, through Saturday, Nov. 26, and Monday, Dec. 26, through Wednesday, Jan 4, with hunting hours a half-hour before sunrise until sunset.
To address the declining resident Canada goose flock at the PGC's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties and State Game Land 46, hunting will remain closed to September goose hunting. Specific regulations and restrictions are available at U.S. Post Offices, most of which have the Federal Waterfowl Stamps required to hunt all waterfowl, in addition to the properly required hunting license and migratory bird permit, and on the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us .
This year, there will be two youth waterfowl hunting days, Saturday, Sept. 17, and Saturday, Sept. 24. Properly licensed adults may hunt Canada geese when hunting with a youth hunter.
Youth Waterfowl Days, which previously were limited to one day, are open to those 12- to 15-years-old who hold a junior hunting license, and in addition to hunting Canada geese, they may hunt ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt.
According to PGC waterfowl biologist Kevin Jacobs, the recent liberalizations in Canada goose hunting opportunities, along with control programs being implemented by many municipalities and public and private landowners, appear to be stabilizing the growth of the state's resident Canada goose population. This spring's Pennsylvania resident Canada goose population was estimated at 245,100, which is statistically similar to the recent eight-year average of 274,300, however, populations remain significantly above the management goal of 150,000.
Pennsylvania's woodcock season has been expanded an extra two weeks, opening Saturday, Oct. 15, and continuing through Saturday, Nov. 26, with a daily limit of three and a possession limit of six. Common snipe season is also from October 15 though November 26, and the daily limit is 8 and the possession limit is 16.
Hunters are encouraged to report leg-banded migratory game bird recoveries online at www.reportband.gov or use the toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND). Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species were taken, in addition to the band number, as this information is crucial to the successful management of migratory game birds.