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Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (Including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species) – December 2011

Canadian Wildlife Service
Waterfowl Committee

CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 35

Table of Contents

Document Information

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Document Information

Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (Including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species) – December 2011

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee

CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Report Number 35

For more information on migratory birds, please visit Environment Canada’s Migratory Birds website.

Authors:

This report was prepared by the Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee, and edited by Renée Bergeron (CWS, National Office).

This report should be cited as:

Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2011. Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (Including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species), December 2011. CWS Migr. Birds Regul. Rep. No. 35. Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Comments:

Comments regarding this report, the regulation-setting process or other concerns relating to national migratory game birds should be sent to the Director of Population and Conservation Management Division at the national office of the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada at the following address:

351 St. Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

Region-specific comments should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, Canadian Wildlife Service, Population Conservation Service, at the following addresses:

Atlantic Region: 17 Waterfowl Lane, P.O. Box 6227, Sackville,B  E4L 1G6

Quebec Region: 801-1550 D’Estimauville Avenue, Québec QC  G1V 3W5

Ontario Region: 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto ON  M3H 5T4

Prairie and Northern Region: Twin Atria No. 2, 4999 98 Avenue, Edmonton AB
T6B 2X3

Pacific and Yukon Region: 5421 Robertson Road, R.R. #1, Delta BC  V4K 3N2

This report may be downloaded from Environment Canada's Migratory Birds Regulatory Reports website.

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Background

Canadian hunting regulations for migratory game birds are reviewed annually by Environment Canada, with input from the provinces and territories and a range of other interested stakeholders. As part of this process, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment Canada produces three reports each year. The first report, Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada (commonly called the November report), contains population and other biological information on migratory game birds, and thus provides the scientific basis for management. The second report, Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations (including Regulation Proposals for Overabundant Species) (the December report), outlines the proposed changes to the annual hunting regulations, and other proposed amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations. Proposals for hunting regulations are developed in accordance with the Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting (see Appendix B of this report). The third report, Migratory Birds Regulations in Canada (the July report), summarizes the hunting regulations for the upcoming hunting season. The three reports are distributed to organizations and individuals with an interest in migratory game bird conservation, to provide an opportunity for input into the development of hunting regulations in this country.

The process for development of regulations in Canada requires that any changes be in the form of final proposals by late February of each year. That means that regulations must be set without the benefit of knowledge about the breeding conditions and production forecasts of the coming year. This does not usually present difficulties because the hunting regulations are based on trends over several years, but in some cases the results from recent harvest surveys or breeding population surveys conducted in May and June will indicate that changes in the national approach are needed to ensure conservation of migratory game birds. In this case, Environment Canada will process a regulatory amendment and issue a bulletin updating these regulations.

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Annual Schedule for the Development of Hunting Regulations

The annual schedule for the development of hunting regulations is based on the requirement to have the annual hunting regulations made into law by early June of each year:

  • End of November – Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada report, containing biological information on migratory game birds, is finalized. In early January, it is distributed and posted on the Environment Canada (EC) Nature website by CWS-HQ Population and Conservation Management Division (PCMD).
  • November – CWS regional offices develop proposals for hunting regulations in consultations with the provinces and territories and interested stakeholders.
  • December 1 – CWS regions provide, to CWS-PCMD and CWS Wildlife Program Support Division (WPSD), the proposed changes to hunting regulations (with justifications) for the upcoming year, as well as any other information that should be included in the report Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations, including advance notice on items for future years.
  • Early to mid-January – CWS-PCMD posts on the EC Nature website and distributes the Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations report containing the regulation proposals to allow for public, inter‑regional and international consultation.
  • February 28 – Any amendments to the proposed changes to hunting regulations are due to CWS-PCMD and CWS-WPSD following the consultation period.
  • March through April – CWS-WPSD prepares legal documents and obtains approvals of the regulatory proposals.
  • Early June – Hunting regulations become law.
  • June through July – Hunting regulation summaries are printed and distributed to Canada Post outlets and posted on the EC website.
  • Early July – CWS-PCMD distributes and posts, on the EC Nature website, the July report containing the final proposals for hunting regulations and the hunting regulation summaries.

Note to United States Readers

The annual cycle of regulation development in Canada is earlier than that in the United States. To meet the requirements of the Canadian regulatory process, proposals for hunting regulations must be finalized no later than late February each year. Canadian representatives at the summer Flyway Council meetings and other hearings are not reporting on what is being considered, but on what has been passed into law.

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American Black Duck Harvest Strategy

Progress on the development of an international American Black Duck harvest strategy based on the principles of adaptive harvest management has been published in previous CWS Migratory Birds Regulatory Reports. To summarize, in fall 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and CWS agreed to work towards finalizing an adaptive harvest management approach to determine appropriate levels of harvest for American Black Ducks in Canada and the U.S., based on breeding ground survey information. Models were initially based on wintering ground surveys, but they are currently being revised to include breeding pair information.

Meanwhile, Canada and the U.S. (including CWS, USFWS, eastern provinces and states of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways) agreed on an interim international harvest strategy that has been in effect for the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 seasons. The interim strategy was extended for an additional year (2012-2013) to allow for the completion of a formal strategy based on the principles of adaptive harvest management.

The interim harvest strategy is prescriptive, in that it calls for no substantive changes in hunting regulations unless the Black Duck breeding population, averaged over the most recent three years, exceeds or falls below the long-term average breeding population by 15% or more (the long-term average breeding population is defined as the average composite estimate for the entire survey area between 1998 and 2007 inclusive). It allows additional harvest opportunity (commensurate with the population increase) if the three-year average breeding population exceeds the long-term average by 15% or more, and requires reduction of harvest opportunity if the three-year average falls below the long-term average by 15% or more. The strategy is designed to share the Black Duck harvest equally between the two countries; however, recognizing incomplete control of harvest through regulations, it allows realized harvest in either country to vary between 40% and 60%.

The American Black Duck Harvest Strategy Working Group will continue to keep the appropriate regulatory consultative bodies in Canada and the U.S. informed of progress as tools are developed for implementation of adaptive harvest management for American Black Ducks. More details on the adaptive management study can be found on the Development of an Integrated, Adaptive Management Protocol for American Black Ducks Web page.

Management of Overabundant Snow Geese

Issue

The rapid growth of most Snow Goose populations is of great concern. A decade ago, comprehensive assessments of the environmental effects of the rapidly growing populations of mid-continent Lesser Snow Geese and Greater Snow Geese were realized by working groups of Canadian and American scientists. Their analyses are contained in the reports entitled Arctic Ecosystems in Peril - Report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group (Batt 1997) and The Greater Snow Goose - Report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group (Batt 1998). These working groups concluded that the increase in snow goose populations was primarily human induced. Improved farming practices supplying a steady food source along with the safety of refuges have resulted in increased survival and reproductive rates in Snow Geese. These populations have become so large that they are affecting the plant communities at staging areas and breeding grounds on which they and other species rely. Grazing and grubbing by geese not only permanently removes vegetation, but also changes soil salinity, nitrogen dynamics and moisture levels. The result is the alteration or elimination of the plant communities, which in all likelihood will not be restored. Although the Arctic is vast, the areas that support migrating and breeding geese and other companion species are limited in extent, and some areas are likely to become inhospitable for decades. Increasing crop damage is also an important consequence of the growing snow goose populations.

Increasing numbers of spring migrant Greater Snow Geese have been observed in recent years at the western edge of the spring staging range on agricultural lands of eastern Ontario. For the first time, special conservation measures for Snow Geese were implemented in eastern Ontario (beginning in spring 2012) to assist efforts already in place in Quebec to curtail the rapid population growth and reduce the population size of Greater Snow Geese.

A similar situation has been observed in recent years on the tidal marsh habitats in and around Restigouche County, New Brunswick. CWS, in concert with the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources, examined the possibility of establishing special conservation measures in New Brunswick and has decided not to proceed at this time.

Regulation

Several concurrent management measures are being undertaken to curtail the rapid population growth and reduce population size to a level consistent with the carrying capacity of the habitat. One measure attempts to increase the mortality rate of Snow Geese by two to three times the rate achieved prior to the introduction of special conservation measures. Beginning in 1999, an amendment to the Migratory Birds Regulations created special conditions under which hunters were encouraged to take overabundant species for conservation reasons and, in some cases and subject to specific controls, to use exceptional methods and equipment such as electronic calls and bait. The 1999 and 2000 regulations applied in selected areas of Quebec and Manitoba. Beginning in spring 2001, special conservation measures were also implemented in Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and similar measures will be implemented in Ontario in spring 2012. The dates and locations of application of these special conservation measures were determined in consultation with the provincial governments, other organizations and local communities.

Evaluation

Scientific studies were implemented to track progress toward the goals of reduced population growth and, ultimately, recovery by plant communities.

For Lesser Snow Geese, the original objectives were to increase the continental harvest to approximately 0.8 to 1.2 million birds annually (Rockwell et al. 1997). These projections were later challenged as being too conservative, and annual harvest requirements of 1.4 to 3.4 million birds were projected on the basis of updated information (Cooke et al. 2000; Rockwell and Ankney 2000).

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the special measures for mid-continent Lesser Snow Geese showed that overall, the balance of evidence favoured the conclusion that the midcontinent population has not declined as a result of the conservation measures, but instead has continued to grow, although perhaps at a reduced rate (Alisauskas et al. 2011). The authors concluded that the weighted survival probability for midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese essentially did not change between the period preceding the conservation measures (1989-1997) and during the conservation measures themselves (1998-2006). They estimated low harvest rates, which increased from 0.024 during 1989-1997 for the most northern of the Arctic colonies geese to only 0.027 during 1998-2006, and from 0.031 to only 0.037 for the more southern Arctic colonies. Alisauskas et al. (2011) concluded that the annual harvest did increase as a result of the conservation measures but failed to exceed 1 million adults in any year during the assessment period from 1989 to 2006. Part of the reason that increased harvest has not been sufficient to reduce midcontinent Lesser Snow Geese is that population size is likely much larger than previously thought. 

In the case of Greater Snow Geese, the population objective adopted by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan is 500 000 birds, or about one-half of the nearly 1 million birds present in 1999. A recent evaluation demonstrated that special measures (among which the spring season was key) were successful in reducing the annual survival rate for adults from about 83% to about 72.5% (Calvert et al. 2007). This is reflected in the spring counts, which appear to have stabilized in recent years at about 1 million birds. In 2011 the population was estimated at 917 000 geese (Lefebvre 2011). 

Models show that without a spring harvest, the population would quickly begin to grow rapidly once more (Gauthier and Reed 2007), as a result of climatic changes that favour good breeding conditions in the Arctic as well as improved feeding conditions (corn and other crops) on wintering and staging grounds. At the same time, it appears that the harvest in Canada (on average more than 36 000 birds have been taken each spring since 1999) has been maximized. Beginning in 2009, the eastern United States were permitted to harvest additional Greater Snow Geese under a special Conservation Order. A report of the Snow Goose, Brant and Swan Committee of the Atlantic Flyway Council (July 2011) indicated that the estimated harvest of 50 587 birds in Atlantic Flyway states for spring 2011 was more than twice the size of the estimate for the first year (i.e. 24 853 birds in 2009). Whether this additional harvest pressure will be sufficient to bring the population under control remains to be seen.

Canada’s strategic plan for the 2005-2010 period lays out key directions for management of Greater Snow Geese (Bélanger and Lefebvre 2006). Among these are the following: maintain a good quality long-term survey to estimate the size of the continental population; monitor the response of the population to management measures; achieve the necessary harvest rates in Quebec; work with the USFWS and state governments toward increasing the harvest of Greater Snow Geese on wintering grounds in the United States; maintain good quality breeding and staging habitats in Quebec; maximize bird watching and hunting opportunities; and review crop damage prevention and compensation programs.

Regulation for 2012-2013

The special measures to be implemented in spring 2012 are posted on the CWS website and are shown in Appendix A of this report. A special spring conservation season will be implemented for the first time in southeastern Ontario effective in 2012. It will begin on March 1 and end on May 31, 2012.

Manitoba and Nunavut are proposing to extend their current spring special conservation season for Snow Geese effective in 2013. In Manitoba, the conservation season would be extended to June 15 (currently ends on May 31) in Game Bird Hunting Zone 1, and throughout Nunavut, the season would begin on May 1 and end on June 30 (currently June 7).

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Proposed Changes to Hunting Regulations for the 2012-2013 Season

CWS and the provinces and territories have jointly developed the regulatory proposals presented here. Other proposals consistent with these may be sent to the appropriate CWS Regional Director by any interested organization or individual. To facilitate the comparison of changes proposed in this text with current regulations, the summaries of the 2011-2012 Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations are included in Appendix C.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in Newfoundland and Labrador from two birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result, the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also proposed for the Maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

CWS also continues to consider two amendments that may be proposed in the future:

  • New Murre Hunting Zone

A notice of intent is given that a new murre hunting zone is proposed to be delineated within the Green Bay area of the existing Murre Hunting Zone 2. In this area, hunters see few murres during the current murre hunting season, and have requested a delay in the season dates to allow access to murres which occur there later in January and early February. The proposal under consideration is to delay the opening and closing dates of the murre hunting season within the new murre hunting zone by about two weeks.

To evaluate this regulatory proposal, CWS undertook a special hunter opinion survey during the winter of 2009-2010. Questionnaires were sent out to 6000 Migratory Game Bird Permit holders. About 1200 questionnaires were returned by hunters, resulting in a response rate of ~20%. The majority of murre hunters that reported their primary murre hunting area was within the proposed zone voted to accept the new zone and season. Community meetings may be held to determine the exact positioning of the boundaries, and other hunters’ concerns.

  • Increase the possession limit to three times
    the daily bag limit for some migratory game birds

A notice of intent is given that further consideration may be given to a proposal to increase possession limits to three times the daily bag limit for selected species of migratory game birds. Additional analysis and consultation will take place in 2012 to determine the appropriateness of this action.

This change is intended to increase opportunities for hunters who might otherwise be forced to stop hunting, or to gift their birds in order to continue hunting. Similar measures were put in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in 2010, and in Quebec in 2011. It is being proposed for British Columbia for 2012.

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Prince Edward Island

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in Prince Edward Island from two birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result, the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also being proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

CWS also continues to consider an amendment that may be proposed in the future:

  • Increase the possession limit to three times
    the daily bag limit for some migratory game birds

A notice of intent is given that further consideration may be given to a proposal to increase possession limits to three times the daily bag limit for selected species of migratory game birds. Additional analysis and consultation will take place in 2012 to determine the appropriateness of this action.

This change is intended to increase opportunities for hunters who might otherwise be forced to stop hunting, or to gift their birds in order to continue hunting. Similar measures were put in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in 2010, and in Quebec in 2011. It is being proposed for British Columbia for 2012.

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Nova Scotia

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in Nova Scotia from two birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result, the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also being proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

Increasing opportunities to harvest Canada Geese

It is proposed to remove the current restriction that limits hunting to farmland only during the September goose seasons for the 2012-2013 hunting season. Under existing regulations, hunters are allowed to possess six additional Canada geese harvested during the period for which early (September) goose seasons are open. At midnight on the last day of the early season, the possession of these six additional birds is no longer allowed. In order to allow hunters adequate opportunity to use geese legally harvested during the early season, it is proposed to modify possession limit restrictions by allowing the additional geese harvested during the September goose season to be possessed until the end of September.

Lastly, it is proposed to extend the early goose season to allow additional harvest opportunity. In 2012, this would result in an early goose season in Zone 1 to be open from September 4 through 18, inclusive; and in Zones 2 and 3, to be open from September 4 through 24, inclusive.

These changes are expected to allow an increase in harvest pressure on temperate-breeding Canada Geese, a stock of geese that continues to experience an increase in population size. This change also comes in response to requests from hunters in areas where access (farmland) is limited (e.g., southwest Nova Scotia). While allowing this additional harvest opportunity on temperate-breeding Canada Geese, the proposed regulations would continue to afford an appropriate level of protection to migrant Canada geese breeding in Newfoundland and Labrador that pass through the province later during fall.

Changing season dates and bag limit table structure

CWS is proposing additional changes to season dates and bag limit structure for parts of Nova Scotia in 2012-2013, in order to simplify the regulations and to be more consistent with other provincial jurisdictions.

It is proposed to remove the column identifying “additional seasons” for selected species and instead categorize harvested species into one of two categories as follows:

  1. Ducks, other than Harlequin Ducks, Common and Red-Breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, Scoters, Goldeneyes and Buffleheads; and
  2. Common and Red-Breasted Mergansers, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, Scoters, Goldeneyes and Buffleheads.

In Zones 2 and 3, it is proposed to delay the opening date by two weeks for those species identified in the above group “a”. This would result in an opening date of October 22, and would also result in a delay in the closing date by a similar time interval (closing on January 15). In Zones 2 and 3, it is also proposed to establish a season opening date of October 8 for those species identified in the above group “b”. This would also result in a modest delay in the closing date, with seasons closing on January 15. 

The objective for the changes to duck seasons as identified above is in response to long-standing requests from hunters and hunter groups to shift seasons to a later time period. Based on analysis of existing harvest survey data, these changes are not expected to increase harvest appreciably, but should satisfy hunter requests for later duck hunting seasons in Nova Scotia.

It is proposed to delay the opening date for geese in Zones 2 and 3 by two weeks. Season closure dates for geese in these zones would remain January 15. This change in timing continues to provide the maximum number of hunting days allowed under the Migratory Birds Convention Act for these species; would result in consistent closing dates for geese and ducks in Zones 2 and 3; and could achieve a slight reduction in harvest pressure on migrant stocks of North Atlantic Population Canada Geese harvested in Nova Scotia.

CWS also continues to consider an amendment that may be proposed in the future:

  • Increase the possession limit to three times the daily bag limit for some migratory game birds

A notice of intent is given that further consideration may be given to a proposal to increase possession limits to three times the daily bag limit for selected species of migratory game birds. Additional analysis and consultation will take place in 2012 to determine the appropriateness of this action.

This change is intended to increase opportunities for hunters who might otherwise be forced to stop hunting, or to gift their birds in order to continue hunting. Similar measures were put in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in 2010, and in Quebec in 2011. It is being proposed for British Columbia for 2012.

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New Brunswick

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in New Brunswick from two birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result, the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also being proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

Removing restrictions on geese

It is proposed to remove the current “farmland only” restrictions on hunting during the September goose seasons for the 2012-2013 hunting season. Under existing regulations, hunters are allowed to possess six additional Canada geese harvested during the period for which early (September) goose seasons are open.  At midnight on the last day of the early season, the possession of these six additional birds is no longer allowed. In order to allow hunters adequate opportunity to use geese legally harvested during the early season, it is proposed to modify possession limit restrictions by allowing the additional geese harvested during the September goose season to be possessed until the end of September.

Lastly, it is proposed to extend the September goose season to allow additional harvest opportunity. 

These changes are expected to allow an increase in harvest pressure on temperate-breeding Canada Geese, a stock of geese that continues to experience an increase in population size, and are supported by CWS and the Province of New Brunswick. While allowing this additional harvest opportunity, the proposed regulations would continue to afford an appropriate level of protection to migrant Canada Geese breeding in Newfoundland and Labrador that pass through the Province during fall.

CWS also continues to consider an amendment that may be proposed in the future:

  • Increase the possession limit to three times
    the daily bag limit for some migratory game birds

A notice of intent is given that further consideration may be given to a proposal to increase possession limits to three times the daily bag limit for selected species of migratory game birds. Additional analysis and consultation will take place in 2012 to determine the appropriateness of this action.

This change is intended to increase opportunities for hunters who might otherwise be forced to stop hunting, or to gift their birds in order to continue hunting. Similar measures were put in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in 2010, and in Quebec in 2011. It is being proposed for British Columbia for 2012.

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Quebec

Removing restrictions for non-residents of Canada on bag limit for Woodcock

It is proposed to remove the daily bag limit restriction for Woodcock for non-residents (current daily bag limit of four). This change would increase the bag limit to the same as that for Canadian residents (current bag limit of eight), and harmonize the regulation with the rest of the country, where the bag limit for this species is the same for residents and non-residents.

This change is expected to have little effect on harvest of Woodcock. In 2010, non-resident hunters represented only 2% of all hunters in Quebec. Less than 20% of all hunters (residents and non-residents) harvest more than four Woodcock (CWS National Harvest Survey Data 2011). The population trend in Quebec is stable.

Effects of the proposed change would be evaluated by continuing to monitor hunter numbers and Woodcock harvest by residents and non-residents, and the status of the Woodcock population.

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in Quebec from two birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result, the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also being proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime provinces and Ontario.

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Ontario

Removing restrictions on the daily bag limit for Canada and Cackling Geese

It is proposed to remove the daily bag limit restrictions for Canada Geese in Provincial Wildlife Management Units (WMU) 83 and 86 in southwestern Ontario. This change would harmonize Canada Goose hunting regulations in these WMUs with the majority of other WMUs in the Southern Hunting District and may result in an increase in the harvest of temperate-breeding Canada Geese. Restrictions on the daily bag limit for Canada Geese in these WMUs were originally established to prevent overharvest of Southern James Bay Population (SJBP) Canada Geese. Recent analyses of band recovery data indicate that the harvest of SJBP Canada Geese in these WMUs is minimal and no greater than that for neighboring WMUs without restrictions. Daily bag limit restrictions remain unchanged for WMUs 82, 84, 85, 93, 94.

Increasing the possession limit for Canada and Cackling Geese

It is proposed to increase the possession limit of Canada Geese and Cackling Geese from 24 to 30 in all hunting districts in Ontario. This change would harmonize Canada Goose and Cackling Goose possession limits with other harvested migratory game bird species at three times the maximum daily bag limit, with the exception of Barrow’s Goldeneye (see below). This harmonization is not expected to result in a significant change in the total number of Canada and Cackling geese harvested in Ontario.

Restriction on the possession limit for Barrow’s Goldeneye

It is proposed to decrease the possession limit of Barrow’s Goldeneye in Ontario from three birds to one. Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eastern Population is considered a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. The current daily bag limit of one bird per day allows for the accidental harvest of this species, and as a result the possession limit is also for one bird only. This measure is also being proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritime provinces and Quebec.

Establishing a Waterfowler Heritage Day

It is proposed to introduce a Waterfowler Heritage Day in Ontario starting in 2012. In the Southern and Central Hunting Districts, the Waterfowler Heritage Day would occur on the Saturday preceding the regular ducks, rails, moorhens, coots, snipe and geese hunting season; in the Northern and Hudson-James Bay Hunting Districts, the Waterfowler Heritage Day would occur on the first Saturday in September.

One day would be removed from the end of the regular ducks, rails, moorhens, coots, snipe and geese hunting season in the Southern, Central and Northern Hunting Districts to allow for a Waterfowler Heritage Day. No change in season length is required in the Hudson-James Bay Hunting District because the Waterfowler Heritage Day occurs during the open ducks, rails, moorhens, coots, snipe and geese hunting season.

Waterfowler Heritage Days are currently in effect in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and some parts of Alberta, and CWS is proposing to implement Waterfowler Heritage Days throughout the province of Alberta in 2012.

Considering the establishment of a Mourning Dove hunting season

A notice of intent is given that an annual Mourning Dove hunting season in Ontario is under consideration. A 2011 evaluation by CWS - Ontario Region determined that Mourning Dove could be hunted sustainably in Ontario. A summary of the findings is provided below.

Mourning Doves are one of the most abundant, widely distributed and heavily harvested game birds in North America. Mourning Doves currently are hunted in 40 of 50 U.S. states, where in recent years about 17 million birds are harvested annually by nearly 1 million hunters. In Canada, British Columbia has had an annual Mourning Dove hunting season since 1960. Ontario also once had a province-wide Mourning Dove hunting season that occurred for one year in 1955, but it has not been reinstated since that time. Since 2004, CWS has received a number of requests to reinstate an annual fall Mourning Dove hunt in Ontario. In response, in 2011 CWS undertook an evaluation of the feasibility of opening a Mourning Dove hunting season in the province. Several large, long-term data sets and review of recent studies were used to evaluate Mourning Dove breeding (and winter) population status and trends, Mourning Dove harvest potential, various aspects of human dimensions, and to identify information gaps necessary for conservation and management. Major findings of the report were: 1) The Ontario breeding population, as indexed by the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), has increased substantially (~ three-fold) in both numbers and distribution since the mid-/late 1960s; 2) The First and Second Breeding Bird Atlases of Ontario have documented an increase in breeding evidence and a northward breeding range expansion between the mid-/late 1980s and mid-/late 2000s; 3) Winter dove population sizes, as indexed by Christmas Bird Count, have increased considerably since the late 1970s; 4) Despite a decline over the past 10 years, relative abundance of doves, as indexed by number of birds per BBS route, in their core breeding areas within the Carolinian and Lake Simcoe-Rideau regions of the province (Bird Conservation Region 13) are similar to those in northern U.S. states where doves are currently hunted; 5) Preliminary calculations suggest that the estimated breeding population of 1.2-1.3 million Mourning Doves are anticipated to produce a fall population (fall-flight) that could accommodate anticipated hunter harvest rates with minimal impact to the Ontario Mourning Dove population; 6) Band recovery data confirmed that Mourning Doves that breed in Ontario have been subjected to harvest in the eastern U.S. for decades; 7) Results from a relatively small public opinion survey conducted by a non-governmental organization showed that a majority of Ontario residents polled in 2006 would not be opposed (58% in favour, 25% neutral and 17% opposed) to establishment of a Mourning Dove hunting season if it was determined that the Ontario population could sustain harvest. Based on this and other supporting evidence presented in the report, CWS concludes that the Ontario Mourning Dove population could sustain harvest and establishing a hunting season is biologically justifiable at this time.

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Manitoba

Reducing restrictions on the daily bag and possession limits for residents and non-residents of Canada for Canvasback and Redhead

It is proposed to remove the restrictions on the daily bag (currently 4) and possession limits (currently 12) for Canvasbacks and Redheads in Game Bird Hunting Zone (GBHZ) 4 for residents of Canada. This change would bring the daily bag and possession limits to the same as those for other ducks (daily bag limit of 8 and possession limit of 24).

It is also proposed to relax the restrictions on the daily bag (currently 2) and possession limits (currently 6) for Canvasbacks and Redheads in GBHZ 4 for non-residents of Canada. This change would increase the daily bag limit to 4 birds (possession limit of 12).

These changes are expected to result in only minor increases in harvest of Canvasbacks and Redheads, both of which are currently healthy and above North American Waterfowl Management Plan goals. The proposed amendments would provide increased hunting opportunity, and would be particularly beneficial to residents of Canada because it would remove the requirement to differentiate these species from other ducks, which many residents find challenging during their earlier-opening season.

Effects of the proposed change would be evaluated by continuing to monitor Canvasback and Redhead harvest in Manitoba.

Snow Goose

  • Extending the special conservation season - spring 2013

It is proposed that the spring Snow Goose conservation season in Game Bird Hunting Zone 1 be extended to June 15. The season currently closes May 31, but in recent years, large numbers of Snow Geese have remained in coastal parts of this zone into June. This measure would provide additional opportunity to manage this overabundant species, and contribute to reducing the growth of the population, through hunting, particularly in late spring.

  • Removing restrictions on decoy use with electronic Snow Goose recordings

It is proposed to eliminate the current requirement to use only blue or white phase Snow Goose decoys when electronic Snow Goose recordings are being used. Decoy restrictions were implemented in Manitoba due to concern about the potential vulnerability of Canada Geese to electronic Snow Goose recordings; however, research has since shown that Canada Geese are less vulnerable to electronic recordings of Snow Geese than to traditional hunting methods (Caswell et al. 2003).  Removal of this restriction would allow hunters to target both Canada and Snow Geese during the same hunt, which would provide additional opportunity to manage overabundant Snow Geese through hunting.

Establishing a hunting season for Woodcock

It is proposed that a hunting season for Woodcock be introduced in Game Bird Hunting Zones 3 and 4, running from September 8 to November 30, with a bag limit of 8 per day (24 in possession) for residents of Canada, and 4 per day (12 in possession) for non-residents of Canada.

Woodcock populations have been surveyed in Manitoba since 1992, and the average number of singing males per route has been consistently higher than the average of other states and provinces in the Central Management Unit (CMU).  Manitoba is the only jurisdiction within the CMU without a hunting season (Cooper and Parker, 2011). Five other provinces with breeding populations of woodcock currently have hunting seasons: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. 

Harvest in Manitoba is expected to be small relative to other jurisdictions. Hunter numbers and harvest can be monitored by the CWS National Harvest Survey, which estimates Canadian harvest of migratory game birds annually.

The proposed Woodcock season would provide a new and unique hunting opportunity in Manitoba, and has been the subject of repeated requests by both resident and non-resident hunters.

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Saskatchewan

Removing restrictions on decoy use with electronic Snow Goose recordings

It is proposed to eliminatethe current requirement to use only blue or white phase Snow Goose decoys when electronic Snow Goose recordings are being used. Decoy restrictions were implemented in Saskatchewan due to concern about the vulnerability of Canada Geese to electronic Snow Goose recordings; however, research has since shown that Canada Geese are less vulnerable to electronic recordings of Snow Geese than to traditional hunting methods (Caswell et al. 2003). Removal of this restriction would allow hunters to target both Canada and Snow Geese during the same hunt, which would provide additional opportunity to manage overabundant Snow Geese through hunting.

Changing the opening date for White-fronted Goose

It is proposed to change the opening date for White-fronted Goose hunting by Canadian residents in the South Game Bird Zone from September 10 to September 1. This would align all waterfowl hunting seasons for Canadian residents. As there is currently little hunting of other goose species during the closed period for White-fronted Geese, this amendment is expected to have minimal impact on harvest rates of White-fronted Geese.

Relaxing daily bag and possession limit restrictions for Northern Pintail

It is proposed to reduce restrictions on the harvest of Northern Pintail in Saskatchewan by increasing the daily bag limit from 3 to 4 and the possession limit from 9 to 12. The purpose of this amendment is to align daily bag and possession limit restrictions for Northern Pintails with Alberta. The increase in Saskatchewan harvest of Northern Pintails is expected to be small (5-10%) and not pose a conservation concern. Pintail population estimates have increased in recent years, particularly in the Canadian Prairies, and it is believed that this measure would not impact this population trend.

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Alberta

Removing restrictions on decoy use with electronic Snow Goose recordings

It is proposed to eliminate the current requirement to use only blue or white phase Snow Goose decoys when electronic Snow Goose recordings are being used.  Decoy restrictions were implemented in Alberta due to concern about the vulnerability of Canada Geese to electronic Snow Goose recordings; however, research has since shown that Canada Geese are less vulnerable to electronic recordings of Snow Geese than to traditional hunting methods (Caswell et al. 2003). Removal of this restriction would allow hunters to target both Canada and Snow Geese during the same hunt, which would provide additional opportunity to manage overabundant Snow Geese through hunting.

Establishing Waterfowler Heritage Days province-wide

Alberta does not currently have a province-wide initiative promoting the heritage of waterfowl hunting directed at youth.

It is proposed to extend the Waterfowler Heritage Days (WHD) currently in effect in Game Bird Hunting Zones 5, 6 and 7 to all remaining Alberta Game Bird Hunting Zones (i.e. zones 1-4 and 8). This amendment would allow WHD to occur on the first Saturday and Sunday of September for the entire province. This change would provide young hunters under the age of majority with the opportunity to practice hunting and outdoor skills, learn about wildlife conservation, and reinforce safety training in a structured, supervised environment. Licensed adult hunters who serve as mentors have an opportunity to pass on their considerable skills and knowledge by offering guidance and advice to younger hunters. Waterfowler Heritage Days are currently in effect in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, and CWS is considering implementing WHD in Ontario as well in 2012.

Opening Date Change

It is proposed to change the migratory bird hunting dates of Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 841 within Game Bird Hunting Zone 1 from September 15 through December 16 to September 1 through December 16. This would align migratory bird hunting season dates within provincial parks, and align migratory bird hunting season dates in WMU 841 with all surrounding WMUs.

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British Columbia

Increase the possession limit to three times the daily bag limit for migratory game birds

Following regulatory changes that have taken place in Western Canada and in the United States over the last few years, it is proposed to increase the possession limit from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit for all species of migratory game birds.

This change is intended to increase opportunities for hunters who might otherwise be forced to stop hunting, or to gift their birds in order to continue hunting. This change is expected to have little effect on harvests of waterfowl.

Similar measures were put in place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in 2010, and in Quebec in 2011.

Snow Goose and Ross’s Goose

It is proposed to open Snow Goose and Ross’s Goose Hunting in all Provincial Region 2 Management Units located in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Historically, Wrangel Island Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese only wintered in Provincial Management Unit 2-4 and 2-5, but their fall and wintering range has expanded in recent years. The proposal supports the management goals of controlling the exponential Snow Goose population growth observed in recent years, addressing safety concerns at the Vancouver International Airport, alleviating crop damage and soil compaction in the Fraser River delta and reducing the ecological degradation of the Fraser River delta marshes caused by white goose foraging, while keeping a basic season on Ross’s Goose, which are not targeted by ongoing management programs. Daily Snow Goose bag limit would remain at 10 for Provincial Management Unit 2-4 and 2-5 and at 5 for all other Provincial Management Units and for Ross’s Goose.

White-fronted Goose

It is proposed to re-open the White-fronted Goose season in all Provincial Region 1 (Vancouver Island) and Region 2 (Lower mainland) Management Units. The hunting prohibition on White-fronted Geese in these two regions was implemented at a time when the species population was relatively rare and below management objectives. Currently, Provincial Regions 1 and 2 are the only regions of British Columbia without a White-fronted Goose season. The re-opening would target the Pacific Flyway population of White-fronted Goose, which now stands at twice the management goal, and not the much rarer Tule White-fronted Goose, which is not believed to occur regularly or in significant numbers in Provincial Regions 1 and 2. Daily bag limit would be set at five, the same level as in the rest of the province. The current White-fronted Goose harvest in British Columbia is estimated at less than 200 birds per year (2000-2010 CWS National Harvest Survey data), and the proposed regulatory change is expected to have a minimal effect on overall harvest.

Canada Goose

In order to assist with the management of temperate Canada Geese, it is proposed that the Canada Goose bag limit be increased from 5 birds daily to 10 birds daily for all of British Columbia. This initiative supports the management objectives of increasing sports harvest to control the increasing population of Canada Geese, providing assistance to jurisdictions with nuisance birds and assisting with crop depredation problems.

It is proposed that season dates in Provincial Management Unit 2-11 be standardized with season dates in the remainder of Region 2.  Historically, season dates in Provincial Management Unit 2 were coordinated with those of Provincial Region 3. The intent of this change is to simplify federal and provincial regulatory tables.

It is proposed that Canada Goose split seasons be standardized in all of Provincial Region 2 except Provincial Management Unit 2-11, which parallels the seasons in Provincial Region 3. The main objective of the proposal is to alleviate Canada Goose conflicts within Region 2. The proposed change would simplify Region 2 Canada Goose regulations where, in previous years, three different seasons were offered across Provincial Management Units.

It is proposed that Canada Goose split seasons be standardized in all of Region 3 to alleviate Canada Goose conflicts within Region 3. The proposed change would simplify Region 3 Canada Goose regulations where, in previous years, two different seasons were offered across Provincial Management Units.

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Yukon Territory

No regulatory changes are proposed for the 2012-2013 season.

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Northwest Territories

No regulatory changes are proposed for the 2012-2013 season.

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Nunavut

Extending the special conservation season for Snow Geese - spring 2013

It is proposed to extend the current spring special conservation season for overabundant Snow Geese in Nunavut. The current regulations allow Snow Geese to be taken in spring from May 1 to June 7. The proposed change would allow Snow Geese to be taken from May 1 to June 30, beginning in spring 2013.

This change would allow more hunting opportunities for non-Aboriginal people and aligns with international management strategies to decrease current population levels of Snow Geese. It would also make the dates consistent with the special conservation season in northern Quebec.

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Updates to the Migratory Birds Regulations

Government of Canada Allowing the Temporary Possession of Dead Migratory Birds

The Government of Canada wants to inform the public of a variance to paragraph 6(b) of the Migratory Birds Regulations, to allow for the temporary possession of found dead migratory birds, which is in effect until September 2012.

As public participation in the study of dead migratory birds is necessary to help conduct surveys on avian viruses, it is permitted to temporarily possess dead migratory birds to allow for swift delivery of such birds to provincial or territorial authorities for analysis. The Government of Canada is responsible, under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, to ensure that migratory birds are protected and conserved, and testing dead birds is believed to be the most effective method available for the detection of avian viruses.

What you need to do if you find a dead migratory bird:

Contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre by visiting their website or by telephoning 1-800-567-2033.

Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website for guidance on precautions to take when handling wild birds.

For more information on the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, visit Environment Canada's website.

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Revising the North American Waterfowl Management Plan

(by the NAWMP Revision Steering Committee)

Goals: The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP, or the Plan) is being revised in recognition of the rapidly changing landscape even at the celebration of its 25th anniversary. The proposed purpose of the revised Plan is “to sustain North America’s waterfowl populations and their habitats at levels that satisfy human desires and perpetuate waterfowl hunting. Plan goals will be accomplished through partnerships guided by sound science”.

Rationale:  In many ways, waterfowl offer more complex management challenges than many other natural resources. The large number of species, each with its own dynamics, presents a myriad of challenges magnified by the migratory nature of waterfowl. International coordination of conservation efforts is essential. Waterfowl managers have eagerly accepted these challenges for more than a half-century, and each generation has produced visionaries who provided valuable contributions for continuing progress.

The history of waterfowl management in North America includes many notable mileposts. Among these are the Migratory Bird Conventions - international treaties between the U.S. and Canada (1916) and between the U.S. and Mexico (1936); creation of the U.S. “Duck Stamp” and Canada’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp; establishment of the flyway council system; the tri-national North American Waterfowl Management Plan; and creation of the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund. The waterfowl management community has reached another milepost.

For the most part, managers have approached waterfowl conservation in an increasingly specialized manner, which has led in many instances to fragmented consideration for harvest, habitat and hunters. Scientific advancements in each of these arenas during the past decade have illustrated the relationships among these segments. More explicit linkages among habitat, harvest and human dimension goals can lead to more effective management of waterfowl and wetland resources in the future.

In August 2008, waterfowl policy makers and technicians convened in Minneapolis at the Future of Waterfowl Management Workshop to discuss the benefits of integrating harvest, habitat and hunter management into a more coherent system that better utilizes limited resources to benefit waterfowl and the people who enjoy them. It was agreed that the Plan revision was the appropriate venue for developing more coherent goals for waterfowl harvest and habitat management.

Call to action: Wetlands and other habitats necessary to sustain waterfowl populations continue to be lost. In some important areas of the U.S., losses have exceeded 90%, while in many settled areas of Canada wetland losses have approached 70%. In both countries, waterfowl hunter numbers have declined, threatening a loss of hunting traditions and the very foundation of North American wildlife conservation. Hunters have been an important source of funds for waterfowl conservation, and they have been primary advocates for waterfowl and wetland-friendly public policies. Clearly, the loss of wetlands and other habitats, the status of waterfowl populations, and levels of hunter participation are inextricably linked. To overcome these challenges of the future we need: 1) coherent objectives for waterfowl populations, habitat conservation and stakeholder engagement that are complementary and mutually reinforcing; 2) population goals that are attainable but adequate to satisfy hunters and other stakeholders, and sufficiently challenging to engage supporters in habitat conservation; 3) habitat goals that are adequate to achieve the demographic effects, population sizes and stakeholder experiences we desire; and 4) stakeholder participation and satisfaction sufficient to sustain habitats, populations and the conservation enterprise at mutually desired levels. Looking ahead, policy decisions regarding water, energy, agriculture and climate change will impact landscapes vital to waterfowl across North America. The waterfowl management community must play a leadership role in shaping these policies. To do so requires a united front: common goals, coordinated actions and clarity of focus.

Process: This revision is challenging from many perspectives: technical capacities must be expanded, diverse management philosophies must be accommodated and institutions that have served to advance waterfowl management may need modifications. A comprehensive consultative process has been essential. In recognition of this, the process began in fall 2009 with a number of consultation workshops conducted between December 2009 and February 2011. A large number of participants were invited to events in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and included state and provincial wildlife agencies, flyway councils, joint ventures, federal agencies, waterfowl hunters, and other interested parties. The consultations were used primarily to seek consensus on the fundamental objectives of waterfowl management in North America. The results from these workshops, as well as a report of the entire Round 1 and 2 consultation process, are available at www.nawmprevision.org/updates, which also includes the first draft of the revised Plan. The consultation period on that draft is now closed, and based on those results, the writing team is preparing a second draft to be completed by late winter 2012. News about future consultation will be posted at the website indicated above.

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Literature Cited

Alisauskas, R.T., R.F. Rockwell, K.W. Dufour, E.G. Cooch, G. Zimmerman, K.L. Drake, J.O. Leafloor, T.J. Moser, E.T. Reed. 2011. Harvest, survival, and abundance of midcontinent lesser snow geese relative to population reduction efforts.  Wildlife Monographs 179: 1-42.

Batt, B.D.J. (ed.). 1997. Arctic ecosystems in peril: report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Special Publication, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., and Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Batt, B.D.J. (ed.). 1998. The Greater Snow Goose: report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Special Publication, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., and Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Bélanger, L. and J. Lefebvre. 2006. Plan for sustainable integrated management of the Greater Snow Goose in Québec: 2005-2010 action plan. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Sainte-Foy, Quebec.

Calvert, A.M., G. Gauthier, E.T. Reed, L. Bélanger, J.-F. Gobeil, M. Huang, J. Lefebvre and A. Reed. 2007. Present status of the population and evaluation of the effects of the special conservation measures. In Reed, E.T., and A.M. Calvert (eds.). Evaluation of the special conservation measures for Greater Snow Geese: Report of the Greater Snow Goose Working Group. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Special Publication. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Sainte-Foy, Quebec.

Caswell, J.H., A.D. Afton, and F.D. Caswell. 2003. Vulnerability of non-target goose species to hunting with electronic snow goose calls. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31(4):1117-1125.

Cooke, F., C.M. Francis, E.G. Cooch and R. Alisauskas. 2000. Impact of hunting on population growth of mid-continent Lesser Snow Geese. In Boyd, H. (ed.). Population modelling and management of Snow Geese. Canadian Wildlife Service Occasional Paper No. 102, Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Cooper, T.R., and K. Parker. 2011. American Woodcock Population Status, 2011. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Laurel, Maryland. 17 pp.

Gauthier, G. and E.T. Reed. 2007. Projected growth rate of the Greater Snow Goose population under alternative harvest scenarios. In Reed, E.T., and A.M. Calvert (eds.). Evaluation of the special conservation measures for Greater Snow Geese: Report of the Greater Snow Goose Working Group. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Special Publication. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Sainte-Foy, Quebec.

Lefebvre, J. 2011. Population estimate for Spring Population of Greater Snow Goose in southern Quebec. Canadian Wildlife Service. Environment Canada. July 2011.

Rockwell, R., E. Cooch and S. Brault. 1997. In Batt, B.D.J. (ed.). Arctic ecosystems in peril: report of the Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group. Arctic Goose Joint Venture Special Publication, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., and Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Rockwell, R.F. and C.D. Ankney. 2000. Snow Geese: Can we pay down the mortgage? In Boyd, H. (ed.). Population modelling and management of Snow Geese. Canadian Wildlife Service Occasional Paper No. 102. Environment Canada, Ottawa.

Snow Goose, Brant, and Swan Committee of the Atlantic Flyway Council (2011). Assessing the Conservation Order for Light Geese in the Atlantic Flyway in 2011. Unpublished Report of the Atlantic Flyway Council.

Wildlife Habitat Canada. 2011. Annual Report 2010–2011. 21 pp.

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Appendices

Appendix A. Special Conservation Measures for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012

This table indicates periods during which Snow Geese may be hunted in spring in various hunting districts in Quebec, as well as additional hunting methods or equipment authorized for these periods.

Measures in Quebec Concerning Overabundant Species
 Item Area Period during which Snow Geese may be killed Additional hunting method or  equipment
 1.District AMay 1 to June 30 and September 1 to December 10Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
 2.District BSeptember 17 to December 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
 3.Districts C and DMarch 1 to May 31Footnote a, September 1 to September 16Footnote a, and September 17 to December 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
 4.District EMarch 1 to May 31Footnote a, September 1 to September 16Footnote a, and September 17 to December 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f; bait or bait crop areaFootnote e
 5.Districts FMarch 1 to May 31Footnote a, Footnote b, Footnote c, September 6 to September 23Footnote a, and September 24 to January 7Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f; bait or bait crop areaFootnote e
 6.District GSeptember 24 to December 26Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f

This table indicates periods during which Snow Geese may be hunted in spring in various hunting zones in Ontario, as well as additional hunting methods or equipment authorized for these periods.

Measures in Ontario Concerning Overabundant Species
ItemAreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
1.Wildlife Management Unit 65March 1 to May 31Footnote aRecorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f

This table indicates periods during which Snow Geese may be hunted in spring in various hunting zones in Manitoba, as well as additional hunting methods or equipment authorized for these periods.

Measures in Manitoba Concerning Overabundant Species
ItemAreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
1.Zone 1April 1 to May 31 and August 15 to August 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
2.Zone 2April 1 to May 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
3.Zone 3April 1 to May 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
4.Zone 4April 1 to May 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f

This table indicates periods during which Snow Geese may be hunted in spring in various hunting areas in Saskatchewan, as well as additional hunting methods or equipment authorized for these periods.

Measures in Saskatchewan Concerning Overabundant Species
ItemAreaPeriod during which Snow Geese may be killedAdditional hunting method or equipment
1.East of 106° W LongitudeApril 1 to May 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
2.West of 106° W LongitudeApril 1 to April 30Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f

This table indicates periods during which Snow Geese may be hunted in spring in various hunting areas in Nunavut, as well as additional hunting methods or equipment authorized for these periods.

Measures in Nunavut Concerning Overabundant Species
ItemAreaPeriod during which
Snow Geese may be killed
Additional hunting
method or equipment
1.Throughout NunavutMay 1 to June 7Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
2.Throughout NunavutAugust 15 to August 31Recorded bird callsFootnote d, Footnote f
Footnote a

Hunting and hunting equipment are allowed only on farmland.

Return to first footnote a referrer

Footnote b

In District F, no person shall hunt south of the St. Lawrence River and north of the road right-of-way of Route 132 between the western limit of Montmagny municipality and the eastern limit of Cap-Saint-Ignace municipality.

Return to first footnote b referrer

Footnote c

In District F, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, no person shall hunt north of the St. Lawrence River and south of a line located at 1000 m north of Highway 40 between Montée St-Laurent and the Maskinongé River. On the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, no person shall hunt south of the St. Lawrence River and north of the railroad right-of-way located near Route 132 between the Nicolet River in the east and Lacerte Road in the west.

Return to first footnote c referrer

Footnote d

“Recorded bird calls” refers to the Snow Goose call.

Return to first footnote d referrer

Footnote e

Hunting with bait or in a bait crop area is permitted if the Regional Director has given consent in writing pursuant to section 23.3.

Return to first footnote e referrer

Footnote f

Snow Goose call recordings may be used, but if used with decoys, the decoys may only represent white or blue phase Snow Geese, or any combination of them.

Return to first footnote f referrer

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Appendix B. Objectives and Guidelines for the Establishment of National Regulations for Migratory Game Bird Hunting

(Revised June 1999 and updated December 2001 by the Canadian Wildlife Service Executive Committee)

A. Description of Regulations

The Migratory Birds Regulations are part of the regulations respecting the protection of migratory birds in general, as mandated by the Migratory Birds Convention. According to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Governor in Council may make regulations providing for:

  1. The periods during which, or the geographic areas in which, migratory birds may be killed.
  2. The species and number of migratory game birds that a person may kill in any period when doing so is permitted by the regulation.
  3. The manner in which migratory game birds may be killed and the equipment that may be used.
  4. The periods in each year during which a person may have in possession migratory game birds killed during the season when the taking of such birds was legal, and the number of birds that may be possessed.

This document deals with these four aspects of regulation, although the Migratory Birds Regulations deal with other areas as well.

B. Guiding Principles

Guiding principles for migratory bird hunting regulations include those laid out in the Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada as approved by the Wildlife Ministers at the Wildlife Ministers Conference, 30 September 1982. In particular, the most relevant principles are:

  1. The maintenance of viable natural wildlife stocks always takes precedence over their use.
  2. Canadians are temporary custodians, not the owners, of their wildlife heritage.
  3. Canadians are free to enjoy and use wildlife in Canada, subject to laws aimed at securing its sustainable enjoyment and use.
  4. The cost of management essential to preserving viable populations of wildlife should be borne by all Canadians; special management measures required to permit intensive uses should be supported by the users.
  5. Wildlife has intrinsic, social and economic values, but wildlife sometimes causes problems that require management.
  6. Conservation of wildlife relies upon a well‑informed public.

C. Objectives of the Migratory Game Birds Hunting Regulations

  1. To provide an opportunity for Canadians to hunt migratory game birds, by establishing hunting seasons. Guidelines for hunting regulations are described in Section D. Briefly, regulations should be based on a number of features specific to the geographic area under consideration. Factors such as the timing of arrival and departure of migrating birds, the status of local breeding populations, fledging of local broods and completion of the moult of successfully breeding females, and other special issues such as the status of species, should be used to determine the most effective hunting regulations. Sometimes regulations may need to be based on the species of highest conservation concern.
  2. To manage the take of migratory game birds at levels compatible with the species’ ability to sustain healthy populations consistent with the available habitat throughout their range.
  3. To conserve the genetic diversity within migratory game bird populations.
  4. To provide hunting opportunity in various parts of Canada within the limits imposed by the abundance, migration and distribution patterns of migratory bird populations, and with due respect for the traditional use of the migratory game bird resource in Canada.
  5. To limit the accidental killing of a migratory game bird species requiring protection because of poor population status, where there is a reasonable possibility that a hunter might confuse that species with another for which there is an open season.
  6. To assist, at times and in specific locations, in the prevention of damage to natural habitat or depredation of agricultural crops by migratory game birds.

D. Guidelines for the Regulations on Migratory Game Bird Hunting

  1. Regulations shall be established according to the requirements of the Migratory Birds Convention and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
  2. Regulations shall address the principles of Section B and the objectives of Section C.
  3. Unless needs dictate otherwise, hunting regulations will be changed as little as possible from year to year.
  4. Regulations should be simple and readily enforceable.
  5. Where a conflict arises between allocation of harvest among jurisdictions and the conservation of migratory game bird populations, the conservation objective shall take precedence.
  6. When uncertainty exists about the status of a migratory game bird population, a precautionary approach will be taken in establishing sustainable hunting regulations.
  7. Hunting regulations may not discriminate among Canadian hunters based on their province or territory of residence. This guideline does not preclude recognition of Aboriginal rights.
  8. Regulations should be consistent in jurisdictions where important concentration areas for staging waterfowl straddle borders.
  9. Where possible, regional, national and international harvest strategies will be developed among management agencies that share populations. Regulations will be designed to meet mutual targets for harvest, harvest rate or population size.
  10. Specific regulation changes will be developed through a process of co‑management and public consultation with other interested groups and individuals.
  11. Hunting regulations should be consistent with terms of agreements in Aboriginal land claim settlements.

E. Regulatory Process

Regulations may be established each year in one of two ways: selection of a regulatory package from a pre‑established set of possible packages, or through an annual regulatory consultation process.

Pre-established sets of regulatory alternatives:
Regulatory alternatives may be pre‑established according to the guidelines outlined in section D, with the selection made in any year based on a predetermined set of conditions. For example, a set of three regulatory packages with decreasing harvest rates could be described: liberal, moderate and restrictive. The criteria for annual selection among the alternatives could be based on the results of population surveys. This method would reduce the time required to conduct the usual annual process, simplify the implementation of multi‑jurisdictional harvest strategies, and increase the predictability of regulations.

Annual regulatory process:
The Minister of the Environment must be in a position to proceed with any changes to the Migratory Birds Regulations for the upcoming hunting season by early June. To ensure that the regulations are made with the best possible advice, a broad process of consultation must be carried out. Reports produced as part of this process may be obtained from Regional Directors, Canadian Wildlife Service, or the Director of Population and Conservation Management Division at the national office of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

  1. The Canadian Wildlife Service, national office, issues a status report on migratory game bird populations at the beginning of December. This report describes the biological information available to determine the status of each population.
  2. Regional officials (biologists and management) of the Canadian Wildlife Service and provincial and territorial wildlife officials will consult with non‑governmental organizations and interested individuals on issues related to hunting regulations for the coming season. To ensure that all parties have access to the best possible biological information, the Population Status of Migratory Game Birds in Canada report may be used as an aid.
  3. The initial suggestions for regulation changes will be developed through regional consultation processes. These processes may vary among regions, but should include active participation by provincial and territorial wildlife agencies, wildlife co‑management boards and affected stakeholders. The changes, with rationale and predicted effect (Section F) are described in a regulation report issued at the beginning of January from the national office entitled Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations. This report allows inter‑regional and international consideration of proposed changes.
  4. Public and organizational comments on the proposals outlined in the Proposals to Amend the Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations report should be sent to the appropriate Regional Director, or the Director of Population and Conservation Management Division at the national office of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
  5. Final regulation proposals, incorporating input from the consultations, are submitted from the Regional Directors to the Director of Wildlife Program Support Division at the national office of the Canadian Wildlife Service, by the end of February.
  6. The regulation proposals are moved, by the national office, through the regulatory process for consideration by the government beginning in June.
  7. Population surveys are carried out throughout the year. From time to time these surveys may show an unexpected change in migratory game bird populations that require a sudden revision to the national regulation proposals.
  8. The final regulations, as approved by the Governor‑in‑Council, are described in a report, entitled Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations in Canada, which is distributed to all involved parties in August. Each purchaser of a migratory game bird hunting permit receives a summary of the regulations for that province.

F. Items to be Addressed in Regulatory Proposals

Proposals to change migratory game bird hunting regulations should address the following questions:

  1. What is the goal of the regulatory change?
  2. How does the change address the objectives and guidelines set out in this document?
  3. What is the predicted effect of the proposal? An analysis based on existing data sources should be included.
  4. How will the actual effect of the regulatory change be measured?

The proposals should be as concise as possible, while still including the required elements. A simplified rationale would apply for regulations that carry out previously negotiated harvest strategies and agreements.

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Appendix C. Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations Summaries by Province and Territory – Fall 2011 and Spring 2012

The summaries are available on the CWS national website.