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Tuesday, February 7 • 9:00am - 9:20am
Technical Session. Selective Harvest: Evaluating Differences in Body Condition of Lesser Snow and Ross’s Geese by Harvest Technique During the Light Goose Conservation Order

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AUTHORS: Drew N. Fowler, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri; Mark P. Vrtiska, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission;Elisabeth B. Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Despite the liberalizations of hunting regulations and implementation of a conservation order in 1999, current efforts appear ineffective in reducing lesser snow goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) and Ross’s goose (C. rossii) populations (“light geese”). One factor potentially contributing to continued population growth may be the inadvertent harvest of poorer conditioned birds more vulnerable to decoy tactics, thereby limiting the impact of sustainable population reduction. Thus, we examined potential differences in body condition of light geese harvested over decoys and geese from the general population that might provide insight for harvest susceptibility. Light geese were opportunistically collected over decoys and jump or pass shooting by hunters and researchers at peak spring migration through Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota during the 2015 Light Goose Conservation Order. Specimens were assessed for body condition using standard lipid and protein proximate analyses and were scaled to an adjusted body size using morphological measurements. We used generalized linear models to determine if variation in total lipid and protein levels among individuals was explained by harvest method, harvest region, adjusted body size, sex and age. Competitive models explaining variation in lesser snow goose body condition indicate an effect of harvest method on lipid levels as well as an interaction between harvest region and sex, suggesting that lipid level accumulation does not occur at the same rate between males and females among the sampled regions. Interestingly, competing models to explain variation in protein levels did not include harvest type but rather age, adjusted body size and region, where protein levels progressively decreased throughout migration. Therefore, lipid content alone is likely the best explanatory factor determining light goose harvest susceptibility over decoys. Finally, these data may elucidate potential tradeoffs between acquisition and storage of lipid and protein reserves for successful migration and breeding in arctic nesting geese.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:00am - 9:20am CST
Grand Ballroom D