John's Journal...

Hometown Geese and Nuisance Geese

How to Remove Nuisance Geese

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: In the fall every year and well into the winter in some areas, many states hold resident-goose seasons to rid the regions of too-many geese. Chris Kirby, the president of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, says of these nuisance geese, “These birds have few natural predators, and their numbers can build-up quickly.” Like other avid nuisance-goose hunters, Kirby hopes to help control the goose population by harvesting resident geese in September before other birds come down the flyway.

Hunt Nuisance Geese:
The keys to harvesting resident geese successfully include:          
* scouting the flock. Learn where the geese roost and feed, and carefully study their flight patterns.     
* canvassing an area. Have three or four different fields in which to hunt. Also, always ask permission of farmers and/or landowners before hunting any fields.    
* attracting the birds. An alluring decoy spread determines the type of shooting you'll have andClick to enlarge
* speaking their language, although calling well doesn't guarantee you'll bag a goose.

Other Ways to Remove Nuisance Geese:
In his book “Nuisance Animals: Backyard Pests to Free-Roaming Killers,” John Trout, Jr. observes, “The best way to control waterfowl population is to avoid sending them an invitation to invade your property.” When people feed waterfowl, the birds tend to stay wherever they receive handouts, even though they can feed on their own. Property owners can control local populations of waterfowl if they use a few simple tactics that Trout suggests to prevent geese from nesting, including...           
* plant longer grasses, which will attract less waterfowl than short grass does;   
* plant vegetation other than grasses along the water's edge to repel geese, including the least favorites of geese, euonymus, pachysandra and periwinkle;    
* put up physical barriers like fences and hedgerows to discourage geese, since they prefer to land on water that has grassy areas within easy walking distance; andClick to enlarge
* don't construct islands or peninsulas, which will only encourage birds to build nests there.

If you can't discourage the resident geese from arriving and settling, you also have a few means for ending their stay. Trout recommends that you use...      
* dogs, particularly border collies, which sometimes will keep waterfowl away. Don't forget local leash laws will apply. Too, free-roaming dogs may damage other wildlife species.  
* small plastic swans and plastic cygnets in ponds to deter geese from gathering.           
* someone to creep up and shoot blanks at the geese.  

Many people recommend noise and visual devices to force the geese out. Automatic noise devices emitting alarm sounds at regular intervals seem most effective. Move these devices daily, since they'll likely become ineffective if left standing in one location. Consider using these products and sound effects...      
* hand-clapping;           Click to enlarge
* banging aluminum pans together;       
* automatic exploders; 
* helium balloons;        
* flags;
* flashing lights;
* scarecrows; and    
* boom boxes with a recording of Canada-goose distress calls.

The Denver Wildlife Research Center hopes to find ways to repel geese chemically. Some areas have used the hypnotic alpha chloralose and/or the compound methylanthranilate, which occurs naturally in grapes and citrus fruits, to repel geese. In areas where non-lethal habitat-management techniques prove unsuccessful, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) sometimes will grant depredation permits, allowing holders to remove waterfowl eggs and nests along with the birds themselves. A few areas have even rounded-up resident geese and given the meat to local food banks and hospitals. Jerry Siree, Atlantic flyway representative for the USFWS, believes the resident geese population may continue to grow. “I don't think hunting likely will control the resident goose problem,” Siree says. “The numerous small ponds, breeding habitat and very low predation on these birds means they have really-high survival rates.

Check back each day this week for more about "Hometown Geese and Nuisance Geese"

Day 1: A Local Goose Season Means No Nuisance Geese
Day 2: Tactics for Hunting Resident Geese
Day 3: Redemption
Day 4: Why a Nuisance Goose Season
Day 5: How to Remove Nuisance Geese


Entry 474, Day 5