Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesotans may be able to start hunting Canada Geese this summer.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is considering moving the start of the goose hunting season from September to August. They say the Canada goose population is at an all-time high in the state, with more than 400,000 birds.
The DNR said the reason has more to do with conservation than hunting. Lowering the geese population, could actually help Minnesota soybean farmers with their spring planting.
Soybean plants are a favorite food of Canada Geese.
“Farmers don’t like coming out to cultivate for the first time and to find out a significant area is completely gone. They might not have any options. It might be too late in the year to re-plant,” said Steve Merchant of the DNR.
For farmers, it comes down to dollars and cents. Prices vary, but a soybean farmer can haul in about $600 an acre.
The birds can easily take out several acres in just a couple days. Farmers aren’t the only ones welcoming a change.
“The duck numbers are down. A lot of those birds are going through South Dakota. Probably the No. 1 bird we have to hunt is Canada Geese in Minnesota,” said Jerry Riege of Capra’s Sporting Goods in Blaine.
Riege isn’t crazy about hunting geese in 90 degree weather, but he thinks that if it’s set up the right way, it could be effective. Also, with school not in session, it could appeal to younger hunters.
“Obviously, our hunting heritage is going the other way. As many of these kids we can get involved, the better,” said Riege.
Riege said he’d like the DNR to allow hunters to hunt Canada Geese on water if they start the season in August.
A number of public input meetings will take place across the state beginning Tuesday night. If they go well, the season could start Aug. 10 of this year.
Both North and South Dakota already start their seasons in August.