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Data from: Harvest distribution and derivation of Atlantic Flyway Canada geese

Cite this dataset

Klimstra, Jon D.; Padding, Paul I. (2012). Data from: Harvest distribution and derivation of Atlantic Flyway Canada geese [Dataset]. Dryad.


Harvest management of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) is complicated by the fact that subarctic and temperate-breeding geese occur in many of the same areas during fall and winter hunting seasons. These populations cannot readily be distinguished, which complicates efforts to estimate population-specific harvest and evaluate harvest strategies. In the Atlantic Flyway, annual banding and population monitoring programs are in place for subarctic-breeding [North Atlantic Population, Southern James Bay Population, and Atlantic Population] and temperate-breeding (Atlantic Flyway Resident Population, AFRP) Canada geese. We used a combination of direct band recoveries and estimated population sizes to determine the distribution and derivation of the harvest of those four populations during the 2004-05-2008-09 hunting seasons. Both North Atlantic Population and Atlantic Population geese were harvested almost exclusively in Atlantic Flyway states and provinces and during regular hunting seasons, whereas most Southern James Bay Population geese were taken in the Mississippi Flyway, with about 12% of that population's harvest occurring during special September seasons in the U.S. Atlantic Flyway Resident Population geese were mainly taken in the state or province in which they were banded, and most of the harvest occurred during special September seasons (42%) and regular seasons (54%). Nearly all of the special season harvest was AFRP birds 98% during September seasons and 89% during late seasons. The regular season harvest in Atlantic Flyway states was also primarily AFRP geese (62%), followed in importance by the Atlantic Population (33%). In contrast, harvest in eastern Canada consisted mainly of subarctic geese (42% Atlantic Population, 17% North Atlantic Population, and 6% Southern James Bay Population), with temperate-breeding geese making up the rest. Spring and summer harvest was difficult to characterize because band reporting rates for subsistence hunters are poorly understood; consequently, we were unable to determine the magnitude of subsistence harvest definitively. A better understanding of subsistence hunting is needed because this activity may account for a substantial proportion of the total harvest of subarctic populations. Our results indicate that special September and late seasons in the U.S. were highly effective in targeting AFRP geese without significantly increasing harvest of subarctic populations. However, it is evident that AFRP geese still are not being harvested at levels high enough to reduce their numbers to the breeding population goal of 700,000.

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