The official USFWS Waterfowl Population Status 2017 and light goose hatch report has been released.
It should be another good season to be a light goose hunter! Population numbers remain mostly steady along the 10-year trend with many areas across the Arctic breeding grounds experiencing average-to-above-average hatch reports for 2017. The exception is the Greater Snow Goose, which is down 18% from 2016 but remains on average for the 10-year trend.
Expect good juvie numbers in the fall flight and plenty of their still somewhat gullible older siblings. Be sure to stock up on shells! Good luck out there this season!
Light Goose Hatch Report Summary:
+2% 2017 // -2% 10 year trend
Breeding population estimated at 624,100 (official numbers not available at time of report)
Karrak Lake ice breakup (May 28) and first observation of goslings (June 21) were the earliest dates recorded in the past decade and over a week earlier than average. Nest densities were lower than average and nest success appeared to be about average.
-1% 2017 // +4% 10-year trend
Breeding population estimated at 3,417,100
Breeding conditions generally average across most of the central and eastern Arctic, with average-to-above-average early productivity across much of the key breeding region.
Western Central Flyway Population
-9% 2017 // +1% 10-year trend
Breeding population estimated at 214,200 (U.S. Survey)
Earlier than average spring conditions in portions of the breeding grounds, with average early productivity.
Western Arctic (Pacific Flyway)
+6% 10-year trend
Breeding population estimated at 1,906,800
Wrangel Island Lessers
+17% 2017 // +11% 10-year trend
Breeding population estimated at 352,000
-18% 2017 // -1% 10-year trend
Breeding population estimated at 747,000
Nesting date was near average, despite late snow pack and cold weather in June. Nesting density and hatch were lower than average, partially due to predation.