For those individuals with no online access, permits and the required report cards can be obtained by calling the Game Commission at the Harrisburg headquarters (717-787-4250) and asking for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. However, this process will require mailing the permit and report cards to the applicant, so allow a minimum of one week for processing and mail delivery to obtain a permit.“In North America, overabundant greater and lesser snow and Ross‘ goose populations (collectively referred to as ‚light geese‘) have caused extensive and possibly irreversible damage to their, as well as other nesting birds‘ arctic and sub-arctic breeding grounds,“ said Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist. „For some populations, their nesting habitats can no longer support these large numbers. What’s more, overabundant Atlantic Flyway greater snow geese impact fragile coastal marsh habitats and crops in Mid-Atlantic States and Quebec.
The most effective way for wildlife managers to respond to the problem is to allow additional hunting days – and hunting methods – to reduce and stabilize light goose populations. Light geese are especially difficult to harvest due to their highly gregarious behavior and often require these additional methods to sustain increased harvest rates. Snow goose hunters are important partners in managing sustainable continental populations. Therefore, as part of the special snow goose conservation hunt, electronic calls and decoys are legal, and legal shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. All other waterfowl shooting hours close at sundown, except for the September Canada goose season. Electronic calls and decoys are not legal for any other waterfowl season. „It’s likely that North America has never had as many light geese as it does now. The recent spring population of greater snow geese that inhabits the Atlantic Flyway has stabilized near one million birds, double the management goal of 500,000. They are a huge and unexpected problem for themselves and other wildlife that share the migration, wintering and breeding grounds these waterfowl occupy.“
Participating states are required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor and assess hunting activity and harvest. That is why the Game Commission has created the free Snow Goose Conservation Hunt Permit.“Along with this permit, hunters must possess a general hunting license, migratory game bird license and a federal duck stamp (for those 16 or older),“ Jacobs said. „The permit holder will be required to maintain records specifying hunting activity and daily harvest. All permit holders must submit a report, even if they did not hunt or harvest any birds, to the Game Commission no later than May 28. Failure to report by May 28 may result in loss of eligibility to participate in next year’s snow goose conservation hunt.“