September Honkers - Early Canada Goose Season
By Chad P. Masley, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
The distant call of Canada Geese honking as day breaks gets your heart pounding as suddenly the sky appears black with geese. They give your decoy spread a fly-by and begin to circle back. At that moment, you realize early Canada goose season will be something you will never forget. This season allows the first opportunity for waterfowlers to polish up on their wing shooting, calling, and to try out new gear for the upcoming seasons. Don’t forget your favorite hunting buddy because it is an experience you will want to share.
This season usually runs from Sept.1-15 with generous bag limits of five geese in most states. These hunts occur well before the arrival of migratory geese. The focus of these hunts is to target resident geese. Resident geese reside year round in areas where in large numbers they are often considered a nuisance for the damage they can cause. Early Canada goose season hunting is a tool to help manage populations of resident geese and at the same time provide another hunting opportunity for outdoorsmen.
Sloshing through sloughs breaking ice is what most waterfowlers envision when they prepare for a hunting trip. Dripping sweat and batting mosquitoes are not considered ideal conditions under normal circumstances, but these are some of the challenges one may face during the mild month of September.
Mild temperatures to those into the 90s may be expected so alter your equipment and hunting techniques accordingly.
Finding hunting locations can be challenging during September goose season. A common goose-hunting tactic is to hunt over harvested agricultural grain fields; however, in September many fields are not yet harvested in Alabama. Finding “hot spots” for geese may require a great deal of scouting and some of the same techniques used for winter month waterfowling. Water availability is something to key in on while scouting. Finding roost ponds and feeding areas can greatly increase your opportunity for success. Knowledge of where an animal has been and where it is going is important for success in any hunting situation. For September resident geese, it is no different.
Here they come, they're cupping their wings, their landing gear is down – take ’em! The thrill and excitement may come early to those who wish to take on the challenge of early September goose season in Alabama. This season should make for a good tune-up for both you and your retriever.