Since 1999, use of electronic calls has been legal for hunting lesser snow geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens; hereafter snow geese) during special seasons or times of day when other waterfowl species could not be hunted in prairie Canada. Prior to expanding the use of electronic calls for hunting snow geese during fall hunting seasons, effects of these calls on nontarget goose species must be examined. Accordingly, we examined the vulnerability of Canada (Branta canadensis) and white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) (dark geese) to electronic snow goose calls and 3 goose decoy sets (dark, mixed, and white) during the 1999 fall hunting seasons in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Canada geese were 2.3 times more likely to fly within gun range (P<0.001) and the mean number killed/hour/hunter was 2.5 times greater (P=0.043) during control periods when hunters were silent or used traditional calling methods (i.e., hand-held and voice calls) than when hunters used electronic snow goose calls. Flock response and kill rate for Canada geese declined as proportions of white decoys increased in decoy sets (P<0.001). White-fronted geese were 1.8 times more likely to fly within gun range (P=0.050) and the mean number killed/hour/hunter was 5.0 times greater (P=0.022) during control periods than during periods when electronic snow goose calls were used. Flock response for white-fronted geese also declined as the proportion of white decoys increased in decoy sets (P<0.001). The legalization of electronic snow goose calls during fall hunting seasons in prairie Canada should not result in increased harvest of nontarget dark geese.
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Vulnerability of nontarget goose species to hunting with electronic snow goose calls