The feds are cranking up the pressure on Crees to cut back on the goose hunt.

The Canada Wildlife Service went on a tour of the Cree communities in January to meet with hunters to discuss an apparent decline in goose numbers.

Wildlife authorities have already imposed a ban on all recreational hunting of Canada geese throughout Quebec. The government is ruling out a ban on the Cree hunt, but is still urging Crees to shoot fewer geese.

“We’re trying to persuade them to bring the situation under control,” a wildlife official told The Montreal Gazette.

But scientists and Cree trappers say no one really knows what’s happening with the goose population and call for more study of the problem.

In 1994, the Canada Wildlife Service observed 40,086 goose pairs in a survey conducted north of the 57th parallel. That was down from 91,301 pairs in 1993.

But the survey has been criticized as being inaccurate. It does not take into

account the fact that many geese are no longer migrating as far north because of a long-term decline in temperatures in Northern Quebec. Thousands of geese stay in James Bay in early spring instead of pushing further north. Hydro-Quebec’s dams may also have affected goose migration patterns.

Trappers also criticize the Canada Wildlife Service for repeatedly rejecting CTA requests for funding to study the geese.