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Canada goose season to close Monday
in Central Illinois Quota Zone and
Central Zone      
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[JAN. 22, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold announced Friday that the Central Illinois Quota Zone and Central Zone will close to Canada goose, white-fronted goose and brant hunting at sunset on Monday (Jan. 24).

Illinois is required by federal regulations to close the goose season before exceeding the quota in any quota zone. The entire Central Zone was scheduled to close Jan. 31 but is closing early due to projections that the Canada goose harvest quota in the zone will have been reached by Jan. 24. Illinois monitors the Canada goose harvest to project when zone quotas will be reached. This season's quota for the entire Central Zone is 33,700 geese, with 17,500 of those allocated to the Central Illinois Quota Zone.

"Goose hunting conditions improved dramatically in central Illinois right after Christmas, and many hunters have been taking their limit," said John Buhnerkempe, chief of the Division of Wildlife Resources. "With hunters taking advantage of the opportunity, we are getting close to the quota and will need to close Canada goose hunting in the Central Zone and Central Illinois Quota Zone seven days earlier than scheduled."

With the early closure, hunters will have had a 79-day regular goose season plus a 15-day September season in the Central Zone this year. Because Illinois monitors the goose harvest and closes seasons before exceeding quotas, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mississippi Flyway Council allow Illinois to offer more extensive goose hunting opportunity during the regular season.

The early closing of the Canada goose season in the Central Illinois Quota Zone and the Central Zone will also close the season for hunting white-fronted geese and brant and will close the regular season for hunting light geese -- snow, blue and Ross' geese -- in the zones. The duck season in the Central Zone closed on Dec. 28.

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The end to the regular season for hunting light geese triggers an early start to the conservation order light goose season in the zones. Beginning Jan. 25 and continuing through March 31 in the entire Central Zone, Illinois will allow the use of electronic goose calls and unplugged shotguns for hunting light geese. There will be no daily bag limit for hunters taking light geese, and hunting hours will be from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Federal law prohibits states from opening a conservation order light goose season until all regular waterfowl seasons are closed. Illinois is implementing the regulations as part of a federal conservation order intended to protect arctic habitat from an overpopulation of light geese. The conservation order light goose season opened Jan. 10 in the North Zone and is scheduled to open Feb. 1 in the South Zone.

The Canada goose season closed Jan. 9 in the Northern Illinois Quota Zone and the North Zone and is scheduled to close Jan. 31 in the Southern Illinois Quota Zone and the South Zone, unless the quota is reached earlier.

Canada goose harvest reports are available toll-free by calling (877) 249-3679.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]

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