Nearly 10 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the “light goose conservation order” that resonated throughout every waterfowl community across the country. The USFWS pulled out all of the stops to encourage hunters to combat the exploding snow goose explosion.  

While many snow geese travel down the Central Flyway and Mississippi Flyway to winter, nearly 850,000 snow geese venture down the Atlantic Flyway. Hunters there are making quite an effort. In 2014, harvest reports indicate around 22,000 snow geese were killed along the Atlantic Flyway, with about 6,000 killed in North Carolina.  

From electronic calls, unplugged shotguns and no bag limits to extended shooting hours (30 minutes past sunset), the conservation order softened restrictions to allow hunters to use just about any means necessary to kill as many snow geese as possible.  However, hunters must continue to use non-toxic shot, and a special permit is necessary. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to identify participants and report harvest of light geese in the conservation order season. A free permit and harvest survey are required by the Commission for all participants. 

While snow geese might show up anywhere east on I-95, the primary counties in which snow geese overwinter are: Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden and Currituck counties.