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 in Skagit County is scheduled Jan. 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 22, 25 and 26 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 6,486 brant were counted Dec. 30 during an aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays.
"Numbers of brant in Skagit County are down from last year's count of 8,960, but still high enough to provide limited hunting opportunities while sustaining the wintering population in the area," said Don Kraege, waterfowl section manager for WDFW.
Wildlife managers also counted nearly 4,000 brant in nearby areas of adjacent Whatcom County. That's about a 65 percent increase in the number of brant counted in those areas last year, Kraege said.
To participate in the Skagit County brant season, hunters must have a small game license, a migratory bird permit and a migratory bird hunting authorization with a brant harvest record card, which are available at WDFW license dealers. In addition, hunters also must have a federal migratory bird stamp.
After taking a brant, hunters are required to record their harvest information immediately on the card, and report their harvest to WDFW by Feb. 15. Hunters are reminded that failure to report by Feb. 15 will result in a $10 administrative fee added to the cost of their 2014 license.
Hunters who harvest a brant fitted with a metal and/or colored leg band are asked to report the leg band information 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/