[Tweeters] hunting of Emperor Geese

Kevin Lucas vikingcove at gmail.com
Mon Dec 6 22:08:00 PST 2021

Gary, and other Tweeters whose posts on this thread I've read so far,

Thank you all for a thoughtful discussion. Your different perspectives, and
genuine concerns expressed are inspirational to me. That you've spoken out
is brave.

I've met many hunters who know me as a bird watcher, some of whom have
invited me bird watch on their private and hunt club properties, who are
quite partial to any duck or goose that's not one of the ordinary ones.
I've been shown many pictures of hybrids and back crosses and leucistic and
melanistic ducks, and told many stories about them. To "get" an unusual
duck is highly prized and sought after. Some very skilled shooters have
told me how they've not shot in order to preserve their bag limit chance at
a hoped-for rarity. For hunters, seeking a rarity is a powerful force. I'm
sure that some hunters shoot rarities, even when prohibited or past their
bag limit, in order to "get" a rarity. I'm a hunter, though I've not hunted
in many years. I've been told stories by respected guides of them poaching
-- yes the guides themselves poaching. I've been shot while hunting --
accidentally by a U.S. Army Colonel. I'm also a bird watcher, and I briefly
enjoyed the competitive aspects of bird watching -- until I saw illegal,
dishonest, and unethical behaviour here in the local scene, heard more
stories of such,,had my rare bird finds poached by the perpetrators, and read
their dishonest allegations about me; respected competitive bird listers
trespass and use playback and spotlighting and falsify checklists despite
laws and tribal sovereignty and bird watchers' concerns about rare and
sensitive species. As to Gary's, " I would say that a closed goose season
is a closed goose season", I'd agree. I also agree with Gary's, "a lawyer
or a reluctant WDFW officer might argue differently", adding (to lawyer &
reluctant WDFW officer) the possibly inferred red-handed hunter, naive bird
watcher, and competitive lister who is protective of the tally of birds
they "got" -- to the list of those who would argue "differently." Please
don't fall into the simple trap of lumping all hunters with those who
purposefully hunt illegally, but please don't fall into the
corresponding trap of letting those who purposefully and repeatedly violate
laws and codes of ethics get away with it -- by falling for their excuses
or lumping them with those well intentioned and always ethical birders that
make up the vast majority of bird watchers.

It's a touch late for a Thanksgiving note I suppose, but I'm *constantly*
thankful that I had phenomenally good role models and training for my
hunting, so that I became a safe, ethical, and responsible hunter --
despite seeing poaching and dangerous behavior in the field that yielded
the perpetrators impressive takes. I'm also thankful that as I became
entranced with bird watching a decade ago I became able to distinguish
which role models to steer clear of and which to emulate, celebrate, and
learn from.

Please report unethical and dangerous and illegal behavior when you observe
it, to stop the behavior, and to dissuade others from choosing to adopt it,
whether it's by a hunter, bird watcher or lister, motor vehicle driver, or
anyone else. Celebrate the gems. Call out the bad apples, so they might be
stopped from spoiling the barrels.

Perhaps the hunter was shooting what (s)he thought was a rare plumaged
bird, and thought it was in season. Perhaps the hunter knew better on both
Please try to help discourage the practice, regardless of any argument,
genuine or disingenuous, by the hunter or the hunter's supporters.

If the hunter's identity has still not been determined, a search of
Facebook and other social meddling sites could nail it. Perpetrators often
brag post about what they "got".

Good Birding,
Kevin Lucas
Yakima County, Washington

*Qui tacet consentire videtur*

On Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 8:22 PM Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Tweeters,


> Thanks to all of the Tweeters out there who have written to me personally

> about this event, as well as to those who have been continuing the

> discussion amongst the group.


> On the *Birds of the World *website, under "Conservation and Management"

> of Emperor Geese, there is this information (link pasted below the quoted

> material).


> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


> Management

> Measures Proposed And Taken


> Guidelines for management of Emperor Geese are presented in the Pacific

> Flyway management plan for Emperor Geese (Pacific Flyway Council 2002b

> <https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/empgoo/cur/references#REF9427>).

> Measures recommended to manage harvest include: (1) Closure of all hunting

> when numbers fall below a 3-yr running average of 60,000, based on the

> spring survey. Hunting allowed only after population levels rise above

> 80,000; (2) Enforce harvest restrictions; and (3) Continue support of the

> Yukon Delta Goose Management Plan. (The plan is an agreement for

> voluntarily reduction in subsistence harvest of several species including

> Emperor Geese).


> Following amendment of the Migratory Bird Treaty, a system of

> co-management exists in which federal, state, and the collective indigenous

> community each have a vote for how harvest regulations are established.

> Under this current system, Emperor Geese remain one of the few species with

> no allowable harvest.

> The Emperor Goose management plan also recommends management and research

> activities. The highest priorities include: (1) Continue spring aerial

> surveys; (2) Continue nesting habitat aerial and ground surveys on the Y-K

> Delta; (3) Continue autumn production estimates as derived from air photo

> analysis of age composition from flocks along the north side of the Alaska

> Peninsula; (4) (4) Initiate study on winter ecology; and (5) Continue and

> expand cooperative educational and volunteer programs.


> >>>>>>>>>



> Conservation and Management - Emperor Goose - Anser canagicus - Birds of

> the World

> <https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/empgoo/cur/conservation>



> The article states that there is "no allowable harvest" of Emperor Geese

> at the moment. One might conclude that this species can't be hunted in the

> US.


> However, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website tells a different

> story. Here is a link.


> 2021-2022 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations (alaska.gov)

> <https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/applications/web/nocache/regulations/wildliferegulations/pdfs/waterfowl.pdf4155A7905DF902C099823812178023D9/waterfowl.pdf>


> The website states that there is hunting of Emperor Geese in Alaska.

> Residents can apply for a special Emperor Goose hunt; non-residents must

> win such permission through a lottery. The bag limit is ONE (1) Emperor

> Goose per season.


> Of course, this has no bearing on the taking of Emperor Geese in

> Washington. I wish that our state would have language in the hunting

> regulations, such that the only migratory birds that can be hunted be the

> ones specifically listed in the regulations. That way, if a wayward species

> makes its way here, the bird does not get killed. I would guess that most

> responsible hunters would find that reasonable. I don't see why a hunter in

> the year 2021 would find it necessary or desirable to shoot, for example, a

> Baikal Teal or an Tundra Bean Goose, when there are hundreds of thousands

> of Mallard, Wigeon, and Snow Geese for the taking.


> In the present case, goose season was closed. I would say that a closed

> goose season is a closed goose season, meaning that it would be unlawful to

> shoot any species of goose during this time; a lawyer or a reluctant WDFW

> officer might argue differently.


> Yours truly,


> Gary Bletsch




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> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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