Geese

If heading out into open country after flocks of geese is your idea of the perfect day, there’s no better place for your next goose trip than Maryland. Located in the heart of the Atlantic flyway, Maryland is considered the Canada Goose Hunting Capital of the World. Wintering over 500,000 Canada geese, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is a goose hunter’s paradise. Numbering in the millions, Maryland’s snow geese are another big draw for hunters.

185939002Migratory Canada geese winter in Maryland but are part of a population that nests in northern Québec along Ungava Bay, the northeastern shore of the Hudson Bay, and in the interior of the Ungava Peninsula. Migratory Canada geese primarily stay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where they can be harvested during season. Maryland’s resident Canada geese are distinct from their migratory cousins, and can be found and harvested across the state during season.

72967659The snow goose population has grown to over 1 million birds. Because the damage they cause to staging and migration habitat and agricultural crops, wildlife managers now allow certain hunting methods to be used to reduce greater snow goose numbers. During the 2014-2015 Light Goose Conservation Order Season, hunters may use unplugged shotguns, electronic calls of light geese, and hunt during extended shooting hours (one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset). Hunters are required to purchase a $5 Snow Goose Conservation Order Hunting Season Permit to participate in this special season and have the permit receipt in their possession while hunting light geese.

  • 11/22/2015-11/28/2015
  • 12/16/2015-03/10/2016

The Canada and snow goose seasons last from early September through mid-February on varying dates. Migratory Canada geese can be found mainly on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the season, while resident Canada geese can be found on the Western Shore as well.

Due to a rise in snow geese numbers, there is a conservation season in December and one from February through April in which shotguns capable of holding more than three shells and electronic calls of light geese may be used, and shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. For a comprehensive list of goose hunting seasons, as well as other migratory birds, visit  http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/pdfs/MGB_Flier.pdf.

As the Canada Goose-Hunting Capital of the World, there’s no shortage of outlets to fill your bag. Coastal and offshore goose hunting is off-limits to non-residents, so the best way to hunt geese in Maryland is to hire a guide. With access to offshore blinds and private lands, along with a wealth of knowledge that will get you to the best hunting areas, guides are a visitor’s only chance to experience the best of what Maryland has to offer. If hunting with a stranger isn’t your idea of the perfect hunt, public lands open to non-residents will certainly bring you a plentiful harvest.

Acquiring a hunting license in Maryland is easily done through DNR’s app, or through the application process online. Nonresident hunters seeking a Maryland hunting license can download the Hunting License Application & Instructions. DNR’s app is the easiest way to apply, register, and report a harvest with the push of a button.

A Regular Hunting License, Junior Hunting License, any Senior Hunting License, or a Nonresident (full term or short term) Hunting License is required to hunt migratory game birds in Maryland. All migratory game bird hunters, including those who are exempt from the hunting license requirement, must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp. In addition, all waterfowl and coot hunters over the age of 15, including those who are exempt from the hunting license requirement, must purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp. See Licenses, Stamps, & Permits for other requirements, descriptions, prices, and availability of licenses, stamps, and permits.

Visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website for a complete list of federal migratory game bird hunting regulations.

Money generated from the sale of licenses goes directly to the conservation, protection, and preservation of Maryland’s natural habitat and cherished wildlife. Maryland DNR works tirelessly to maintain a healthy population of geese and the regulations needed to sustain hunting in Maryland. Changes in regulations, dates, and requirements vary year-to-year. Please check with DNR frequently for the most up-to-date information.