SKAGIT COUNTY -- Good news for brant hunters.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials say that hunting
for the goose species in Skagit County will open as scheduled on Jan. 10.
"Our aerial data show there are slightly more than 6,000 brant wintering in the
county," WDFW wildlife biologist Mike Davison said.
"We had estimated that, for conservation reasons, we had to have a population
of at least 6,000 birds in the county by now if we were going to have a hunting season
there at all."
Brant are hunted in Skagit and Pacific counties. However, most hunting for the
migratory species occurs in Skagit County in Padilla and Samish bays, where eelgrass
beds provide critical habitat for the birds. Padilla Bay is the primary wintering area for
brant in Washington.
The Skagit County brant season this year is scheduled to be open Jan. 10, 11,
14, 17 and 18. In Pacific County, the season opens earlier, on Jan. 3, and remains
open Jan. 4, 10, 17 and 18.
Hunters are required to obtain written authorization from WDFW to hunt for the
species, and must submit a harvest report form. The deadline to obtain authorization to
hunt has passed for the 1998 hunting season.
Hunters should consult the department's 1997-98 Migratory Waterfowl and
Upland Game Seasons pamphlet for bag limit and other information. The pamphlet is
available statewide at department offices and major sporting goods stores.