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End of duck season doesn’t mean it’s over!
The regular waterfowl season ends in California Jan. 27, and for most duck and goose hunters, that means the end of the season. But wait! There’s more opportunity out there for waterfowlers, including the upcoming Youth Hunt days, and some special late-season goose hunts.

The future of hunting in California depends on recruiting new hunters, and one of the very best opportunities for that is the Youth Waterfowl hunt coming up on Feb. 2 and 3. Those days are set aside for licensed junior hunters to enjoy a non-competitive day in the field, with the same regulations and limits as during the regular season. Get out there and host a youth hunter, you’ll love it!

CATCH FLOCKS OF geese going to or leaving a grind, keep a good distance away so as not to spook the grind itself, and you’ll most likely be offered some good shooting at in-range birds. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

And for everyone, adults and kids, there are some special late-season goose hunt coming up.

Up in the north coast, there’s a late season that runs from Feb. 23 through March 10 — a long time frame, when hunters can target mostly Aleutian geese. The limit is 6 birds a day, double that in possession, and no large Canada geese may be taken. The intent is to help minimize damage to pastures and crops in the north coast by the rebounded Aleutian goose flocks as they head back north.  

For those hunters in the Balance-of-the-State zone, the late goose season runs from Feb. 16 through Feb. 20 for whitefronts and white geese. The limit is 8 per day, which may include 6 white geese or 6 dark geese (specks only), and possession limit is double that. The Sacramento Valley Special Management Area will remain closed for the late season for take of specks, though, due to the localized tule goose population.

LATE GOOSE SEASONS in California, from the north coast to the Balance of the State zone, to southern California, extend the goose hunting experience for those who want to take advantage of them. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR

For southern California waterfowlers, there is a late season hunt for white geese only, and that runs from Feb. 9 through Feb. 24. The limit is 6 per day with the possession limit double that.

These hunts are a great opportunity to get in some excellent goose hunting with the benefit of having everything “rested” from hunting for a few weeks, but don’t just expect to drive up there opening morning and get into the geese! You’ll need to do some scouting and find where the geese are feeding, have permission to hunt the area they are in, and you’ll need to have some goose decoys with you, too.

Here’s a suggestion: If you find a big grind of geese working, watch them for awhile and see if you can determine the main flight pattern in and out of the grind. Once figured out, get a quarter mile away or so and get in a ditch or in some other cover, and shoot at any in-range geese coming into or leaving the grind. If you get too close, or try to sneak on them, you’ll bust ‘em, and might only get one chance. By working the flocks coming in and out of the grind, at a good distance, they shouldn’t spook and you might end up with a good strap of birds. Good luck!

THERE SHOULD STILL be some big numbers of geese in the Sacramento Valley during the late goose season beginning Feb. 16, and most likely there will be big grinds like these. WON PHOTO BY BILL KARR
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