OLYMPIA – An abundant return of brant geese to Skagit County has cleared the way for a five-day hunt later this month.
Brant hunting in the county will proceed as scheduled Jan. 21, 22, 24, 26 and 28, with a daily bag limit of two geese.
More than 8,000 brant were counted during a recent aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays, said Mike Davison, wildlife biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). At least 6,000 brant in Skagit County must be counted before hunting is allowed.
All 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 for brant in the 2006-2007 season.
Hunters who harvest a brant implanted with a radio transmitter should take the bird to the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Reserve or call the reserve at (360) 428-1558. Hunters also can call Davison at (360) 708-6892, Don Kraege, WDFW waterfowl section manager, at (360) 791-1933, or Maynard Axelson, of the Washington Brant Foundation, at (360) 202-0415. WDFW biologists want to retrieve the transmitters, which allow them 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 http://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, which is online.