OLYMPIA - Brant goose numbers in Skagit County are high enough to allow an eight-day hunt later this month, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Brant hunting in Skagit County is scheduled Jan. 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 23, 26, and 27 with a bag limit of two geese per day.
The hunting season was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in August, contingent on a count of at least 6,000 brant in Skagit County. A total of 8,960 brant were counted Jan. 2 during an aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays.
"Numbers of brant wintering in Skagit County are up from last year's count of 6,704," said Don Kraege, waterfowl section manager for WDFW. "The brant season is structured to maintain the limited wintering population of western High Arctic birds (commonly known as gray-bellied brant) wintering in Skagit County."
This year's count in Skagit County is similar to the 10-year average, Kraege said. He noted that ground surveys conducted last winter indicated good productivity of brant, so this year's increase was not a surprise. About two thousand brant were counted in Whatcom County during this year's aerial survey.
To participate in the Skagit County brant season, hunters must purchase a special migratory bird hunting authorization and a harvest record card available from WDFW license dealers. After taking a brant, hunters are required to record their harvest information immediately on the card, and report their harvest to WDFW by Feb. 15. Hunters are reminded that failure to report by Feb. 15 will result in a $10 administrative fee added to cost of their 2013 license.
Hunters who harvest a brant fitted with a metal and/or colored leg band are asked to report the leg band information by calling 1-800-327-BAND or at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/bblretrv/
. The leg bands help biologists identify and track the birds.
More information on brant-hunting requirements is available in WDFW's Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasonshunting pamphlet, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/