MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A late spring could lead to some frustrated goose hunters in South Dakota next month.

The state is holding a special hunt for the fourth straight year to reduce the resident population of Canada geese, which damage crops. But there might be fewer birds than expected to shoot at this year.

Game, Fish and Parks Waterfowl Biologist Rocco Murano tells The Daily Republic newspaper that because of a cold spring with late snowfall, Canada geese started breeding later than normal this year and many birds might not be flying when the season opens Saturday.

It takes up to three months for a hatched Canada goose to begin flight. The adults also go flightless for about a month while molting, or replacing damaged, lost or deteriorated feathers.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.