Subsistence snow goose hunt
1,000 birds up for grabs this spring

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 05/97) - The department of Wildlife is planning a subsistence snow goose harvest this spring.

Department official Tim Devine says it's a measure to keep the bird population from growing out of control at the McConnell bird sanctuary south of Arviat.

The harvest would also allow researchers to study the snow goose population and determine its growing habits.

"It's a subsistence hunt for community trade," said Devine.

Arviat hunters will take part in the harvest. The bagged birds will be packed in boxes, frozen, shipped out to neighbouring communities and distributed among Inuit families.

Besides the hired hunters, 10 research facilitators and one co-ordinator will be hired to survey the geese.

The gender, amount of ammunition used, and the birds' condition will be recorded. Any diseased birds will be sent to the University of Guelph to be researched.

The subsistence harvest is just one recommendation by Keewatin hunters and trappers organizations, the territorial department of Wildlife and Canadian Wildlife Services to bring down snow goose populations.

Devine said the population currently stands at about 3 million birds, but it should only be half that.

"It's a North American concern," he said.

Other means of reducing populations is increasing bag limits for southern hunters who come for sport, and extending the season which normally begins in September.

For aboriginal groups, there are no seasonal guidelines. They can hunt any time.

Last year a similar subsistence Inuit harvest took place allowing hunters to take up to 500 birds.