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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 9, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Brant numbers warrant hunting season starting this weekend, but figures are down from last year

An aerial brant count this past Friday shows enough birds in Skagit County to allow a hunting season that will begin this coming weekend, Jan. 14-15.

Brant hunting is also scheduled for Jan. 18, 21, 22, 25, 28 and 29 with a bag limit of two geese daily.

The hunting season was adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in August, contingent on a count of at least 6,000 brant in Skagit County.

A total of 6,704 brant were counted Friday morning during an aerial survey of Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays.

“Numbers of brant in Skagit County are down from last year’s count, but still high enough to provide hunting opportunities while sustaining the wintering population in the area,” said Don Kraege, a state Fish and Wildlife waterfowl section manager said in a news release.

This year’s count in Skagit County is about 2,000 birds below the 10-year average, said Kraege. Last year, wildlife biologists counted about 8,500 brant in the county.

To participate in the Skagit County brant season, hunters must have a small game license, a migratory bird validation and a special migratory bird-hunting authorization with a brant harvest record card, which are available at license dealers. In addition, hunters also must have a federal migratory bird stamp.

After taking a brant, hunters are required to record their harvest information on the card immediately, and report their harvest to state Fish and Wildlife by Feb. 15.

Hunters who harvest a brant fitted with a colored leg band should report the leg band’s numbers and color by calling 1-800-327-BAND or at the PWRC website. The leg bands help biologists identify and track the birds.

More information on brant-hunting requirements is available on the state Fish and Wildlife’s Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet website.

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