OLYMPIA , Wa- -(OutDoorWire.com)- A brant goose hunt in Skagit County will proceed as scheduled after an aerial survey tallied about 16,200 brant in the area, the largest count in 14 years, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Brant hunting is scheduled Jan. 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 25 with a daily bag limit of two geese.
The 16,200 brant counted during today's aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays represent the highest total number of birds observed in those areas since 1995, when nearly 17,000 brant were counted, said Don Kraege, waterfowl section manager for WDFW. At least 6,000 brant must be counted in Skagit County before hunting is allowed.
“The high count is likely due to another season of good production at the birds' breeding grounds in the Canadian arctic, and severe cold up north pushing more birds south into the area,” Kraege said.
Last year, WDFW wildlife biologists counted about 9,200 brant – slightly above the long-term average. About 6,100 brant were counted during aerial surveys in 2007 and about 9,500 the previous year.
Hunters participating in the brant season must have prior written authorization and a harvest information card from WDFW. Hunters need to record their harvest information immediately after taking a brant, and return the completed harvest report to WDFW by Feb. 15. Hunters who fail to return the report by Feb. 15 will be ineligible to hunt brant in the 2009-2010 season.
Hunters who harvest a brant implanted with a radio transmitter should call Kraege at (360) 902-2522. WDFW biologists would like to retrieve the transmitters, which are used to track the migration pattern of the birds.
Hunters who harvest a brant fitted with a colored leg band should also report the leg band's numbers and color to WDFW. Birds fitted with metal leg bands can be reported by calling 1-800-327-BAND or at www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl . The leg bands help biologists identify and track the birds.
More information on brant-hunting requirements is available in WDFW's Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/water/water.htm .
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