What is Goose Break Holiday in Canada?

What is Goose break holiday? 

Goose break holiday is an age-old Cree tradition in Northern Quebec amongst the Cree people. It takes place in spring, usually specifically in May.

Although it’s not a commonly known holiday around the rest of the world, for the Cree people in Northern Quebec, specifically in Eeyou Itschee James Bay, it’s one of the most important holidays. Everything shuts down for a few weeks in May to allow time for people to partake in the goose hunting tradition. 

Goose break holiday is essentially a hunting holiday in which individuals go out to hunt geese to bring back home. Traditionally, Canada goose hunting was needed due to the fact that the stockpile of big game meat, such as moose and caribou, had run out by spring time. This therefore meant that men had to go out and hunt geese to sustain their families until they could begin hunting bigger game again. 

Why do people participate in Goose break holiday?

Although it may just seem like a holiday, or a fun tradition to uphold, for the Cree people, the goose break and the goose hunt that accompanies it is much more than that. Goose break is an important aspect of the community which is integral to allow its culture to live on. 

Due to the increased westernization in Canada and Quebec, the native population has suffered as their culture and language have slowly started to disappear. Keeping up the goose break tradition allows natives to maintain a connection to their history and culture. 

Although the essence of the hunt has remained the same, there have been some modifications to modernize the holiday. Despite the fact that traditional goose hunts were reserved for men and boys, it has been adapted to become more inclusive which is why now it’s not uncommon for entire families to partake in goose hunts, including women and girls. This allows everyone in the community to feel connected to their roots. 

Moreover, the goose hunting tradition has proved integral in forging and maintaining relationships within the Cree community. The Canada goose season presents as the perfect time for families to bond as the learning process that the youth go through on the trip creates space for connections to be made between parent and child, child and culture.

The young learn from the old and different generations can bond as the youth spend time with their elders, making this a sentimental holiday to many. The land is also an integral aspect to native culture which allows people to reconnect with their environment and learn about how important it has remained throughout history, from their ancestors to the present day. 

When is goose hunting season in Canada? 

Goose hunting is marked on the Cree calendar and looked forward to every year. Usually, it takes place in May and there is a practical reason for this. 

The goose break occurs in spring every year because this is the time of year when weather conditions begin to change. As the weather begins to get warmer and the snow begins to melt, it becomes harder to travel to land. Therefore, people have to hunt whatever is available to them, and in this case it is geese. 

The goose break holiday happens in spring every year to mark the changing weather conditions and harvest to ensure people can hunt enough food to sustain themselves until they can easily travel again. 

Things to be aware of when going goose hunting

Although goose hunting is usually taught by elderly people, if you want to get a head start, there are some things to be aware of before going out to hunt geese. It’s always better to be prepared when changing conditions and your own personal safety are concerned. 

Changing conditions

One of the biggest dangers to goose hunting is the fact that the weather conditions can change quickly. Due to global warming, the weather is increasingly warm and there is more sun during the spring months. This can result in the ice melting quickly so people traveling with snowmobiles or snow-based transport have no way to travel back. 

You need to keep this in mind when planning your trip as travel is an integral part to goose hunting. Since you will be traveling to remote areas, it’s always a good idea to organize transport that will be reliable regardless of weather variations. 

One of the best options to ensure you can partake in goose break without any travel problems, is investing in seaplane transport as it’s a reliable mode of transport that will allow you to safely reach remote areas during your hunting trip

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