TORRINGTON, Wyo. (AP) – Hunters seeking to restore goose populations in Goshen County have been circulating a petition to ask the state to eliminate extended hunting hours.
In recent years the state extended goose hunting hours to allow daylong hunting of geese on Wednesdays and weekends and full weeks of hunting in January and February.
The petition said there are fewer geese now as a result. Areas of Canada and Montana have half-day hunting and have not seen a decline in goose numbers, the petition said.
Also, limiting hunting hours would encourage hunters to spend the afternoon shopping and sightseeing in the region, which would help local businesses, the petition said.
The petition is scheduled to be presented with the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission on March 26.
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We dont have a huge area, and the pressure from hunting has increased, said Tom Harpstreith, the petitions author, who has hunted in the area for 40 years.
Goshen County did not have much goose hunting until after biologists started trapping goslings in Colorado and transplanting them in area wetlands in the 1960s, Joe Gilbert, Wyoming Department of Game and Fish officer, said.
All day hunts started around 1989. Much of the pressure for extended hours came from Cheyenne hunters who did not want to drive 80 miles for half-day hunts, Gilbert said.
Also, bag limits rose from two to five and hunting days increased from 75 to 107 per season, the Torrington Telegram reported.
All-day hunts would be appropriate for the final few weeks of the season, Harpstreith said.
The biggest problem with hunting those birds all day in December is they are just arriving, he said.
A survey found about 14,000 geese in Goshen County this year, compared to 38,000 last year, although Gilbert said mild winters, not hunting, is to blame for the recent decline.
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