WE’VE BEEN waterfowl hunting since we were too young to carry a gun. Since those days, we’ve seen hundreds of geese and ducks descend on Great Bay each fall.
The amount of thunderous gunfire we heard, especially on weekends, caused us to become more and more fascinated with duck hunting. The gunfire was so loud that it could be heard for miles around! We’ve heard it ourselves from distances that had to be in the 20- or 30-mile range!
Since finally being old enough to get out there for a few hunts with some very gracious adult mentors, the love of this pastime helped us take much more pleasure in the other aspects of the hunt.
In my case, training and living with a great Labrador retriever and watching his work, scouting for good hunting areas, the setting of waterfowl decoys and calling ducks and geese into the decoy spread are the things that really are rewarding for me. Also, teaching new or young hunters the skills and the obligations of the hunt still is most important to me. And, of course, there’s the camaraderie of being in the presence of people who share your passion.
Let’s start a discussion about New Hampshire’s steadily increasing populations of non-migratory Canada geese. You know, the kind that are always foraging and pooping on big, green fields such as corporate office lawns, golf courses and athletic fields.
There’s been a special early season for these geese for well over a decade but the populations continue to build in spite of this hunt. Many of our neighboring states to the south have instituted special late-season hunts. We’ve hunted those late seasons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as New Jersey.
What the rationale is that keeps the Granite State from being able to harvest some of those nuisance birds during a late season escapes me. If it’s the fear of killing some of the precious migratory geese that usually winter along our coastline, then that argument can easily be quelled by establishing boundaries for a special hunt that doesn’t include the coastal areas.
But that doesn’t seem logical to me. Massachusetts’ late hunt includes areas in the vicinity of the Parker River Refuge that is right on the coast.
Our Fish and Game Department is clamoring for more income. I don’t think that this would be a huge income producer but a special fee for hunting both the early- and late-season Canada geese wouldn’t find much opposition in the group of hunters with whom I’m acquainted.
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