Brant hunting continues in Pacific County through the end of the month, with additional hunts in Clallam, Whatcom, and Skagit counties.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced continuing hunts for brant geese in Pacific and other counties, with a three-day hunting season for brant geese in Skagit County.
Continued stable winter brant counts have allowed for scheduled hunting opportunities in Pacific County on Jan. 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, and 28, and in Clallam and Whatcom counties on Jan. 20, 24, and 27 .
A brant count above 3,000 in Skagit County means a limited three-day brant hunting opportunity will occur on Jan. 20, 24, and 27, and allows for brant hunting to be open in Skagit County during the Youth, Veteran, and Active Military waterfowl hunting opportunity on Saturday, Feb. 3.
“Recent aerial counts in Skagit County indicate numbers above the 3,000-bird minimum, allowing a limited opportunity for brant hunting in Skagit County this season,” said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl section manager. “These population surveys, conducted over Padilla, Samish, and Fidalgo bays, tallied 3,048 brant—a welcomed increase after two consecutive years of counts below the threshold.”
The surveys allow WDFW biologists to monitor the winter population in relation to the harvest pressure that can occur in Skagit County. The number of hunting days is directly related to how many brant are counted during these surveys.
“While we strive to provide harvest opportunity when appropriate, population counts below the 3,000-bird threshold require us to restrict opportunities for hunting this unique coastal waterfowl species to meet our conservation objectives,” Spragens explained.
Brant are a migratory species of goose with a sleek black head, white “necklace” marking, and distinct brown and black body feathers with striking white flank feathers.
They winter in coastal bays, estuaries, and lagoons, where they eat eelgrass, sea lettuce, and other aquatic vegetation.
WDFW reminds hunters to familiarize themselves with local regulations and boundaries.
Specifically, hunters in Clallam County are advised to consult the closed zones of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, and hunters in Whatcom County are advised to review boundaries relevant to Bellingham and Lummi Bays.
Brant hunters must possess a valid migratory bird authorization and brant harvest report card.
More information on brant hunting is available in the Migratory Game Bird Seasons – Western Washington section on page 27 of the 2023-2024 Game Bird and Small Game Hunting Regulations.