As example of the difference between the coasts of America and the flyover states, I read this article today. It seems one of the large parks in Little Rock has been taken over by Canadian geese. Instead of trying “humane” i.e. useless methods of dealing with the population, the powers that be are charging $10 bucks a head for hunters to go in and cull the gaggle. Not only do they solve the Goose Poo problem but half of the meat goes to feed the hungry.
In Portland, Or, this would not only never pass the city council, the mere mentioning of such a solution would no doubt cause a huge outcry among the so called animal lovers.
LITTLE ROCK — A controlled hunt to thin out the Canada geese population in Burns Park will be Dec. 20-22 after the proposal gained approval from the North Little Rock City Council on Monday.
Aldermen voted 5-1, with Alderman Charlie Hight against it, to allow the reduction of more than half of the 200 geese in the park. Aldermen Beth White and Linda Robinson were absent.
City Park Ranger Kate Finefield described the once-migrating geese as taking up residence in city parks, littering golf courses, soccer fields and bike trails with feces, damaging parks property, being aggressive toward cyclists and golfers and possibly being a danger to children as they grow more unafraid of humans.
Finefield said she has had “firsthand reports” of geese being aggressive or attacking parkgoers, mainly complaints from golfers and cyclists. She showed a photo of a golfer trying to maneuver through about 40 geese.
Geese defecate up to 92 times a day, or about every seven minutes, Finefield said, spreading feces that contain various bacteria, on top of being a nuisance to users of the parks.
“We have had to move games off the soccer fields because of geese droppings,” Parks Director Bob Rhoads said. “The water quality is going down on Victory Lake because of the droppings.”
Hunters participating in the program will be chosen from an application process and then undergo orientation on how the reduction will be done, plus pay a $10 fee, Finefield said. The hunt, limited to shotguns, will be done in small groups with city parks staff leading each group.
“They just won’t be out there willy-nilly,” Finefield said. “We call it a population reduction because it is highly controlled.”
Following state Game and Fish Commission regulations, hunters will be limited to two geese per day. The hunt will be restricted to about 135 geese killed over the three days, but Finefield will determine the cutoff, she said. An amendment by Hight to place that maximum in the legislation failed to draw a second.
At least half of all goose meat will be processed by Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, a local organization that donates the processed meat to local food pantries.
The hunt will be held between 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. each day in designated areas of the park, with those areas closed off from 6-10 a.m. Police officers and parks personnel will guard against anyone entering the areas except for the permitted hunters.
Five residents spoke in opposition to the killing of the geese.
“I love these geese,” said Judy Zorn, adding that she considered killing the resident geese “cruel and inhumane.”
Desiree Bender called the approved hunt “a quick fix and cheaper” method that won’t be as effective as nonlethal methods.
“This will work for six months,” she said. “Then more geese will come back. A long-term plan will better control these geese.”
Jean Hall warned the City Council against “setting a precedent for any time wildlife are out there you don’t like.”
Hall and Zorn continued voicing their displeasure to Finefield and Rhoads outside the council chambers after the City Council’s vote.
Three others spoke in support.
“Goose feces on the bike trail is a problem,” said John Barton, a cyclist. “You can’t get up and down the River Trail without encountering feces. This is population control of an invasive species.”
The city has tried nonlethal methods, such as pyrotechnics and coyote cutouts, Finefield said, but the main problem in the overpopulation is people feeding the geese.