Waterfowl Hunting in Alaska

Adult Emperor Geese (photo courtesy Tasha Dimarzio)
Adult Emperor Geese winter on the Aleutian Islands are often found foraging on the rocky coastal shorelines.

Emperor Goose Hunting

Emperor goose hunting in the fall-winter season is open to Alaska residents by registration permit and to nonresidents by drawing permit. Alaska residents also may hunt emperor geese by proxy during the fall-winter season. Over 30 years of conservation efforts have helped emperor geese recover from a low population size to allow their harvest. However, careful management of the population is still necessary. Federal regulations allow the State of Alaska an annual harvest of either 1000 or 500 emperor geese (liberal or restrictive regulations) administered under a registration permit system. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the Board of Game established 7 hunt areas across the range of emperor geese each with an individual quota that sum to the statewide harvest allowance. A hunt area will close after shooting hours on the last day of the season or by Emergency Order when the area quota is met, whichever is first. Thus, it is important that successful hunters follow the reporting requirement of the registration permits and report their harvest of an emperor goose to minimize overharvest and possible future hunt closures. If you are interested in hunting emperor geese, please see the information below for details of obtaining a registration, drawing, or proxy permit, season dates, hunt conditions, and reporting requirements.

Current Population Status of Emperor Geese

Emperor goose harvest in Alaska is guided by a prescriptive harvest strategy in the Pacific Flyway Council's management plan that is based on using the indicated total bird index from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Coastal Zone Survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assess population status relative to population thresholds. The harvest strategy specifies fall-winter harvest will be open with an annual quota of 1000 birds if the indicated total bird index from the previous year is greater than 28,000 birds; but if the index is between 28,000 and 23,000 birds, a restrictive quota of 500 birds will be put in place. If the index is below 23,000 birds, the hunt will be closed. The 2021 total bird index was below the 28,000-bird threshold that prescribes an allowable harvest of 500 birds for the fall-winter hunt of 2021-2022.

Emperor Goose Resident Registration Permit Hunt

  • This hunt is open by registration permit to Alaska residents with a current hunting license (see Migratory Game Bird Regulations (PDF 591 kB) for license exemptions and stamp requirements)
  • Registration permits will be available online, at ADF&G offices, and at some licensed vendors in rural coastal villages where emperor geese are hunted
  • A permit allows the harvest and possession of ONE emperor goose per hunter per season
  • There are 7 established hunt areas across the range of emperor geese; each with a registration permit unique to the area and an individual quota (see table below)
  • A hunter may register for ONE permit in a single hunt area or ONE permit in each of multiple hunt areas; however, the harvest and possession of only ONE emperor goose per hunter per season is allowed regardless of the number of permits held
  • Successful hunters MUST REPORT their harvest by phone 1-800-478-7468 or online; within 24 hours or 72 hours depending on the hunt area (see table below)
  • Hunt areas will close after shooting hours on the last day of the season or by Emergency Order when area harvest quotas are met
  • Please read the hunt conditions on registration permits carefully; hunt areas may have different season dates, reporting requirements, or restrictions

Hunt area (click permit number for hunt area map)

Permit number

Season dates

5Hunt quota

Report period

1Unit 8

RO501 (PDF 320 kB)

Oct 8 – Jan 22

150 birds

24 hours

2Unit 10

RO502 (PDF 194 kB)

Oct 8 – Jan 22

125 birds

72 hours

3Izembek State Game Refuge

RO503 (PDF 248 kB)

Oct 16 – Oct 31

50 birds

24 hours

4Unit 9/17 and Unimak Island in Unit 10

RO504 (PDF 450 kB)

Sept 1 – Dec 16

100 birds

72 hours

 Unit 18

RO505 (PDF 298 kB)

Sept 1 – Dec 16

25 birds

72 hours

 Unit 22

RO506 (PDF 355 kB)

Sept 1 – Dec 16

25 birds

72 hours

 Unit 23

RO507 (PDF 523 kB)

Sept 1 – Dec 16

25 birds

72 hours

1 Kodiak Road System is closed to emperor goose hunting
2 Excludes Unimak Island
3 In Unit 9
4 Excludes Izembek State Game Refuge
5 Individual hunt area quotas under restrictive regulatory package allowing harvest of 500 birds statewide

Emperor Goose Non-Resident Drawing Permit Hunt

Painting of emperor geese
  • Twenty-five nonresident waterfowl hunters have an opportunity to harvest an emperor goose in Alaska by drawing permit. Nonresidents can apply online (hunt.alaska.gov) beginning November 1st and ending December 15th at 5 p.m. (AKST) for a drawing permit to hunt emperor geese during the next year's fall-winter season. A total of 25 drawing permits are available to nonresidents
  • Applicants may apply up to 6 times for one permit at a cost of $5.00 per application
  • The 25 applicants drawn for a permit will be announced the third Friday in February
  • The permit allows a nonresident hunter the harvest of ONE emperor goose per season.
  • There is a single hunt area split into four hunt zones (see table below)
  • Season dates, harvest quotas and reporting requirements vary by zone, and zones will close after shooting hours on the last day of the season or by Emergency Order when the hunt area quota is reached
  • A nonresident with a permit can hunt in any of the four hunt zones
  • Hunt quotas are shared by resident and nonresident hunters
  • See the table below or the Drawing Hunt Supplement (http://hunt.alaska.gov) for hunt zone descriptions, reporting requirements, season dates, and additional requirements and information
  • See the current Migratory Game Bird Regulations (PDF 591 kB) for license and duck stamp requirements

Hunt area: Units 8, 9, and 10

Permit

Number of permits

Season dates

4Hunt quota

Report period

Zone 1

1Unit 8

DO508 (PDF 297 kB)

25

Oct 8 – Jan 22

150 birds

24 hours

Zone 2

2Unit 10

Oct 8 – Jan 22

125 birds

72 hours

Zone 3

Izembek State Game Refuge

Oct 16 – Oct 31

50 birds

24 hours

Zone 4

3Unit 9 and Unimak Island in Unit 10

Sept 1 – Dec 16

100 birds

72 hours

1Kodiak Road System is closed to emperor goose hunting
2Excludes Unimak Island
3Excludes Izembek State Game Refuge
4 Individual hunt area quotas under restrictive regulatory package allowing harvest of 500 birds statewide

Links to More Resources