OUTDOORS: Canada goose season ends today

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor
Bill Wehrle column

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri’s 2020-21 Canada goose season ends today, but there’s still plenty of goose season left.

Confusing, isn’t it?

Although the goose season is over until next fall on Canada geese, brant, and white-fronted geese, a special light goose Conservation Order season opens tomorrow and will run through April 30.

Snow geese, blues and Ross’s geese are legal game in this most liberal, regulation-wise, of all our waterfowl seasons. There are no bag limits, so you can shoot all the light geese you can use or give away.

During this special season, shooting hours run until a half-hour after sunset daily and it’s legal to stuff all the shotshells your gun will hold in it. Extended magazines are legal. Hunters are allowed to use electronic calls, and the only permit required is the Conservation Order Permit. You don’t even need a hunting license. It’s goose hunting like it was in “old days” when there were no rules.

I’ve been seeing thousands of light geese flying over my house recently, likely coming in from feeding. Find that field, put out a big spread of decoys, get really concealed (snow geese have super keen eyesight), and get ready for the outdoor thrill of a lifetime. Watching a big flock of light geese funnel into your decoy spread is a real heart-stopping outdoor thrill.

Light geese don’t hang around here very long when the days get longer and warmer, so if you’re planning a snow goose hunt, you’d better get right on it.

I got so excited when I first saw the archery deer and turkey harvests that I called them both record-breaking. I was only half-right.

The archery deer harvest I reported as nearly 67,000 was pretty much correct. In fact, the final archery deer harvest was 67,180, a new record.

However, the archery turkey harvest wasn’t nearly as many as the more than 4,000 birds I reported. The actual archery turkey harvest was 2,905, the highest number of turkey bow kills since 2015, but not a new record. I got so excited when I saw the more than 4,000 on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website that I didn’t verify that before reporting. Sorry about that!

Speaking about turkeys, it’s only a little over two months until Missouri’s popular spring turkey seasons kick off with the annual youth-only season, which opens on April 10.

The youth season only runs for two days, but is closely followed by the regular 3-week turkey season April 19-May 9. It won’t be that long and dedicated turkey hunters will be out scouting for birds.

Missouri’s furbearer seasons have partially closed for this year, with the furbearer hunting season ending on Jan. 31 (except for special rules on coyotes). Trapping seasons partially closed on Jan. 31 also, except for otters and muskrats, which may be taken through Feb. 20, and beaver and nutria, which may be trapped through March 31.

Fur prices have been so low that a lot of trappers “hung up their traps” until prices go back up. That’s too bad, because raccoon numbers are very high and they are a major predator on ground-nesting bird nests like turkeys and quail.

(Bill Wehrle’s outdoors sports column appears in the Constitution-Tribune each Saturday.)