Kansas eases rulesfor snow geese

On Monday, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will implement the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's snow goose conservation order.

The conservation order addresses concerns about overpopulation of snow geese in North America. The order extends the snow goose season statewide through April 30. During this period, special regulations apply, as follow:

There is no bag or possession limit.

Hunters may use electronic calls and unplugged shotguns

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

John Redmond Reservoir, Elk City Reservoir, Perry Reservoir and the Jeffrey Energy Center are all favorite sites for late-season snow geese. And more snow geese are seen in a wider area of Kansas each year, ranging well into the central portions of the state. Snows in large numbers have visited areas of central Kansas this year, including Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Missouri also loosenssnow goose hunting

Missouri Department of Conservation Wildlife Research Biologist Dave Graber says regulatory adjustments made over the past four years have helped stop an explosive growth of light-geese numbers in the state.

"Light-goose numbers, a population index measured during the winter, peaked at about three million in 1998," said Graber. "In the past four years conservation orders liberalizing hunting have been enacted, and the light-goose population has been cut to about 2.6 million. We want to get the population down to about 1.5 million. To do that, we need a harvest of about 1.4 million geese for the next several years."

A conservation order that allows hunters to pursue the geese beyond the regular hunting season is in effect now through April 30 in the north and Swan Lake zones and Jan. 27 through April 30 in the middle, south and southeast zones.

The light-goose conservation order permits hunters to use methods not allowed during the regular hunting season. These also include hunting with unplugged shotguns, using electronic calls, an unlimited harvest of light geese and the taking of geese until 30 minutes after sunset. All that is needed to participate in the season is a $6 Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit.

AGFC could losegrant money in 2003

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission may lose some grant money, compared to last year's funding level, under the fiscal year 2003 Interior Department appropriations bill headed for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Senate bill would cut the state wildlife grants to $45 million this year, down from the $100 million included in the Senate's original version of the legislation and the $85 million actually appropriated in fiscal year 2002.

In Arkansas, the proposed funding amount would be less than half from a year ago, according to the AGFC's grants administrator Kris Rutherford.

"Basically, this would mean that Arkansas would receive an apportionment of about $450,000 out of this round of grants." he said.

Bass virus decliningthroughout Oklahoma

The largemouth bass virus (LMBV) in several Oklahoma lakes appears to be declining.

"In 2000, Lake Tenkiller had 100 percent of the bass population carrying LMBV, but these latest results show only 17 percent of the bass carried the virus in 2002," said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Other lakes showing drops in LMBV occurrence between 2000 and 2002 were Grand (37 percent down to 28 percent), Hudson (42 percent down to 22 percent), and Ft. Gibson (50 percent down to 28 percent). Although largemouth bass kills were reported at all of these lakes in the summer of 2000, only at Lake Tenkiller were dead and dying bass collected to confirm LMBV was the cause.

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