Light goose conservation order

News & notices

Permits on sale Feb. 13

Permits to take geese under this conservation order go on sale Tuesday, Feb, 13, at DNR license agents, online and by telephone. Review the licenses section for additional information.

Give us your feedback

All participants will be mailed a questionnaire after the conservation order concludes. Your answers help us track harvest and better manage Minnesota wildlife.

Don't shoot a swan

Make sure you recognize and know what your shooting. All swans are protected in Minnesota and penalties for shooting a swan can be severe. Always know your target and what's beyond.

This conservation action is authorized to reduce an overabundance of snow geese that threatens the birds' arctic breeding habitat.

Spring light goose permits (license code 521) become available on Tuesday, Feb. 13. No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate.

Permits may be obtained through any DNR license agent, online or by telephone at 1-888-665-4236.

  • Customers using the telephone will receive a temporary authorization number in lieu of the permit until it can be mailed to the applicant.
  • Customers using the Internet will be able to print their own permit when completing the transaction and will not receive a permit by mail.

Although the permits are free, there is a $2.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit.

Sunday, Feb.18, to Tuesday, April 30.

Shooting hours

½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.
Sunrise and sunset times


There are no daily or possession bag limits. One fully feathered wing must remain attached to all light geese while being transported from the field to one's home.

Legal species

"Blue" geese also may be taken. This dark morph of the lesser snow geese has a white face, dark brown body and white under the tail.

No other species of waterfowl may be taken.

Don't shoot swans

All swans are protected in Minnesota and penalties for shooting a swan can be severe. Be sure of your target.

In previous springs, most light geese passed through Minnesota in southwestern and west-central areas of the state, generally west of a line extending from Mankato to Fergus Falls.

But swans may be found statewide in the spring so become familiar with this identification advice prior to heading out in the field. Don't mistake a swan for a goose!


All state and federal restrictions that apply during normal waterfowl hunting seasons are also in effect during the conservation order except that use of unplugged shotguns and electronic calls is allowed. Details of state and federal restrictions can be found in the Minnesota waterfowl hunting regulations supplement. Some key points are:

  • Only approved non-toxic shot may be possessed and used.
  • Federal baiting regulations apply during the conservation order.
  • Prohibited methods include use of rifles, pistols or shotguns larger than 10-gauge; live decoys; or sinkboxes.
  • Light geese may not be taken:
    1. From or by means, aid, or use of any motor vehicle or aircraft of any kind.
    2. From or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been shut off and the sails furled. A craft under power may be used only to retrieve dead or crippled birds; however, the craft may not be used under power to shoot crippled birds.
    3. By means or aid of any motor-driven land, water or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of concentrating, driving, rallying or stirring up of light geese.
  • All refuges closed to normal waterfowl hunting are also closed during the conservation order. This includes the Lac qui Parle Game Refuge and duck and goose refuges that are posted with signs as closed during fall waterfowl seasons.
  • Participants may not sell or offer for sale light geese or their plumage but may possess, transport and otherwise properly use them.
State trespass regulations apply during the conservation order.


Hunting is only one aspect of the DNR's effort to manage waterfowl for the public trust. Visit our waterfowl management page to learn about the many things we do to manage waterfowl for the benefit of all Minnesotans now and into the future.

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