The closure of these public WMA's to snow goose hunting means that only hunters who know farmers in the area, or those who are wealthy enough to lease those farms for hunting can participate in the spring hunt. I am very concerned about situations like this that are turning our sport into a rich man's game, and limiting the ability of the average hunter to participate. Thank you!
Answer: Everything in wildlife management involves some compromise, with the goal of optimizing the solution for the greatest overall achievement in multiple conflicting goals. So it is with snow goose seasons.
The ponds at Fort Boise WMA are a primary roosting area for snow geese as they pass through our region on the spring migration. If you look at a map of the WMA, however, you can see that the ponds on which they roost are within the area closed annually from February 1 through July 31 for nesting season for all of the other birds that depend on the area for habitat. The same is true for the marsh area of Roswell Marsh Habitat Area south of Highway 18.
Just because there are lots of geese flying in and out of the ponds still does not mean that would be a good place to hunt them. Snow geese are typically hunted over a large number of decoys in agricultural fields. You hunt them where they feed. This is a highly variable activity, and flocks often use a field only once. The key to success is to scout well, and line up as many landowners as possible before the season.
Shooting them where they roost would just induce them find somewhere else to roost. This would not only provide a very limited hunting opportunity, but would deny the opportunity for hundreds of wildlife viewers to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of geese at Fort Boise heading out to or returning from daily feeding forays. Providing a place for snow geese to roost keeps them in the general vicinity at least, so local fields can continue to offer hunting opportunity.
Areas of Roswell Wildlife Habitat Area north of Highway 18 are open to light goose hunting. The harvested grain in those fields can provide a hunting opportunity when they feed there.