Submitted by Chad Gray, MO Conservation Agent
It is late January and many hunting seasons have come to a close. For most hunters, their season is long over and they have already started thinking about turkeys in April. If you’re a waterfowl hunter, it may not be too late. Late January and early February can bring some great hunting action to much of the Mississippi flyway via the spring conservation order.
The spring conservation order is unique, in that it is a wildlife management tool to harvest light geese on their spring migration north. Light geese include snow, blue and Ross’s geese. The conservation order for light geese runs from February 7 to April 30. All that is required to hunt during this order is a conservation order permit which can be purchased at any permit vendor. Small game permits, migratory bird permits, and federal duck stamps are NOT required during the light goose conservation order.
These long distance travelers are on their spring migration back north as temperatures warm. Light geese travel in large numbers and are easily patterned. This gives hunters the ability to hunt light geese many different ways. If a hunter has the time and does their homework scouting, the conservation order can provide some of the most exciting hunting found in the field.
There is no daily bag limit and hunters are permitted many different exceptions in order to harvest light geese. Hunters are also permitted to use unplugged shotguns allowing for the maximum magazine capacity to be used while hunting. Hunting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. These times can be found on the MO Hunt app on smart devices or online at mdc.mo.gov. Be sure to know your regulations prior to going to the field to hunt. It is the responsibility of the hunter to know the regulations for the game you are pursuing.
If you have never participated in this “order” I encourage you do to so. It can provide an excellent shot gunning experience. As always, be sure to ask for a landowner’s permission first. A good rule of thought is to leave the field better than you found it. It only takes one piece of litter to lose a great place to hunt or fish.