[Tweeters] hunting of Emperor Geese

Steve Hampton stevechampton at gmail.com
Mon Dec 6 22:28:47 PST 2021

Just a quick note on hunter Facebook groups-- last year in California a few
birders started looking at these groups and discovered a Bean Goose and a
Baikal Teal shot by hunters and posted online the same week (!) , which
illustrated how many birds are out there that birders might be missing.

In that instance, I think both birds were shot legally and the posts were
to assist in identification, as they thought they might be a weird hybrid.
Other hunters knew better and were quite excited about them.

On Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 10:09 PM Kevin Lucas <vikingcove at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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

> accounts.

> 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,

> https://www.aba.org/aba-code-of-birding-ethics/

> 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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​Steve Hampton​
P​​​ort Townsend (Qatay)​, WA​​
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