OLYMPIA – Brant goose numbers in Skagit County are high enough to allow an eight-day hunt later this month, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Brant hunting is scheduled Jan. 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30 with a bag limit of two geese per day.
The hunting season was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in August, contingent on a count of at least 6,000 brant in Skagit County. A total of 8,519 brant were counted Monday morning during an aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays.
“Numbers of brant wintering in Skagit County are up from last year,” said Don Kraege, waterfowl section manager for WDFW. “We are also seeing significant numbers elsewhere in northern Puget Sound, including nearby Whatcom County, where we counted an additional 6,877 birds during the aerial survey.”
This year’s count in Skagit County is about 860 more birds than the 10-year average, said Kraege. Last year, WDFW wildlife biologists counted slightly more than 6,000 brant in Skagit County. About 16,200 brant – the largest number in 14 years – were counted during aerial surveys in 2009.
To participate in the Skagit County brant season, hunters must have written authorization and a harvest record card from WDFW. After taking a brant, hunters are required to record their harvest information immediately, and report their harvest to WDFW by Feb. 15. Hunters who fail to report by Feb. 15 will be ineligible to hunt brant in the 2011-2012 season.
Hunters who harvest a brant fitted with a colored leg band should report the leg band’s numbers and color by calling 1-800-327-BAND or at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/bblretrv/. 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/hunting/regulations/.