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These geese will be cooked

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.

7 comments to These geese will be cooked

  • JE McManus

    Facebook has already (inexplicably) shut down the original coalition page protesting the culling. Please encourage readers supporting more HUMANE METHODS of population control to join us at

    Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coalition-to-Save-the-Geese-of-Burns-Park/195217030561856

  • David

    In the interest of journalistic fairness I offer the following link(s):
    http://www.ducks.org/
    http://home.nra.org/

  • Max

    I’ve never understood why folks feel a need to feed ducks and geese. On the hunt itself: I do wonder why they limited it only to shotgun. I’d think archers would cause less disturbance. The idea of charging hunters a small fee is, however, excellent.

    And that’s where you’re wrong about Portland: they would indeed (and on occasion, have) remove excess numbers of Canada geese (ever notice that it’s always Canada geese that are the problem?) – but in true Portland fashion, they don’t allow hunters to take them. No, in Portland, they hire “trained professionals”. Why defray costs by charging hunters, when you can add to costs by hiring “trained professionals”?

    On the other hand, they at least donate the meat to food pantries – they have us pay to remove the birds, then they have us pay to transport and process the carcasses, then they have us pay to transport the meat to the pantries. And folks like Jill McManus wail and cry about the poor geese.

    Ya know – over in popular Laurelhurst Park, the pond got so full of goose-poop that it became a health hazard to all animals. We ended up paying 3/4 of a million dollars to have the thing dredged out, the poop trucked off (to the Lents neighborhood, naturally), and an aeration and filtration system installed – in a natural pond! The bleeding hearts are totally clueless – they just want to exercise their God-given right to tote sacks of day-old bread to the park to feed the cute little goosies.

  • MarionA

    Get real everyone including Kate Finefield. The lack of any real knowledge about Canada geese is just mindboggling. Canada geese are GRAZING ANIMALS…which is why they prefer golf courses. Do you see golfers usually feeding the geese. It is hard to even be civil reading some of this outrageous ****. “While geese and other waterfowl clearly enjoy eating bread, and know where to anticipate its disbursement, local populations are not established based on the availability of these handouts. Geese use more biologically relevant critera in determining whether a region is suitable for them to carry out their daily or seasonal activities, including the safety provided by water and the constant availability of food in the form of grasses.

    To the dismay of golfers and greenskeepers, golf courses are irresistible to geese despite the fact that no “direct” feeding takes place in these areas. The golf course example reveals that the more pervasive “indirect” feeding (IN THE FORM OF TURF GRASS) is the primary factor that determines the attractiveness of an area to Canada geese. “Direct” feeding is merely a bonus, and doing away with it has negligible effect.”

    It is manicured sweeping lawns and ponds that ‘feed’ the geese and attract them. Seriously people….

  • MarionA

    As for goose feces ‘spreading bacteria’ that’s BS too..sorry people…you really have to do some real research if you don’t want to look like an uneducated fool:

    “According to state and university public health experts including the New Jersey Department of Health, goose feces are fairly innocuous, posing little or no health risks to humans.

    Dr. Timothy Ford, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and author of “Microbiological Safety of Drinking Water: United States and Global Perspective 1999,” states: “Numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts associated with Canada geese and waterfowl in general are likely to be minimal, unimportant relative to the potential for oocysts shed from other forms of wildlife and humans. IN MY MIND THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY THAT THE CANADA GOOSE WILL EVER BE A MAJOR ROUTE OF INFECTION. TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE IS UTTERLY LUDICROUS AND YOU CAN QUOTE ME

    And David S. Adam, Coordinator of Health Projects, Vector Control, Infectious and Zoonotic Disease Program for the State of New Jersey Department of Health, writes: “Giardia lamblia, as well as Cryptosporidium, is most commonly transmitted to humans by person-to-person fecal-oral contamination or by water fecally contaminated by humans or other mammals. Infection is usually asymptomatic with children infected more frequently than adults, often in the day-care setting. In summary, the role of Canada geese in the transmission of Cryptospordium or Giardia to humans is not well established, BUT APPEARS TO BE SMALL COMPARED WITH OTHER MODES OF TRANSMISSION.”

    Mr. Adams adds that CANADA GEESE HAVE BEEN WRONGLY BLAMED FOR BEACH CLOSINGS: “A number of beach closings including several in New Jersey have been attributed to this cause [high fecal coliform counts attributed to Canada geese]. However, research on this subject (including surveillance conducted in New Jersey) has usually found VERY LOW LEVELS OF PATHOGENIC BACTERIA, such as Salmonella sp., in the feces of waterfowl NOT EXPOSED TO HUMAN SEWAGE EFFLUENT:

    Dr. Milton Friend, former director, Wildlife Research Center Water Fowl Disease U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is adamant: “On occasion we have been wading in that stuff [feces], dead birds up to our elbows… THERE IS NOT A SINGLE DOCUMENTED CASE OF ANY OF US COMING DOWN WITH ANY KIND OF A DISEASE PROBLEMS AS A RESULT OF THE CANADA GOOSE…WE DO NOT HAVE A HUMAN HEALTH SITUATION, NOT IN THE URBAN GOOSE, NOT IN THE WILD GOOSE, and not in the captive geese that we have also worked with. We do have a lot of diseases out there that can affect people. MOST OF THEM COME FROM DIFFERENT PLACES AND DO NOT COME FROM THE CANADA GOOSE AND I’LL LEAVE YOU WITH THAT.”

    Giardia sp., is common throughout the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that prevalence is higher in areas of poor sanitation and in institutions where children are not toilet-trained. The CDC lists “institutions and day-care centers as the principle mode of spread. ” Principle reservoirs are listed as “humans, possibly beaver and domestic animals” — geese aren’t even mentioned.

    How the Canada goose metamorphosed into a “major health threat” is a case study in manipulation of public — your — attitudes. It was done through a series of wrong inferences, insinuation, exaggeration, and omission.”….and no worse ‘insinuations’ to be found than that in NLR.

  • MarionA

    A golf course is a known goose magnet because of its wide open areas of short grass and ponds. This is a well known fact; therefore golf courses have an ethical obligation to include nonlethal goose management into their business plan.

    Paying a company like Goosebusters to use a trained collie is a proven way to keep golf courses goose free. This is a business that attracts geese; considering most people don’t golf and this is a rather exclusive activity it is reasonable for taxpayers to manage their own goose problems..they attract the birds they should be paying a dog to chase them away.

    It’s called ‘taking responsibility’ and a tax deduction and not expecting others to solve the problems you create.

  • MarionA

    This is not a ‘hunt’ …this is worse than a canned hunt…these geese are semi tame geese, well accustomed to people, and not used to encountering hunters like regular long distance migrants. This is nothing more than a firing squad that will be able to walk into the park, without camouflage, blinds, or decoys, walk up to the geese and blast them. Since when did this become ‘hunting’? This will be like walking up to your pet and blasting it.

    BTW elevated coli form counts means nothing and it means especially nothing when taken out of all context. Do some more research. Coliform counts are always elevated with heavy rain and run off into bodies of water; and at the best of times unless there is extensive testing they can’t tell if these are even pathogenic coli forms; and even more difficult to relate them to Canada geese. The lack of knowledge displayed by Finefield and writers who parrot her BS should be embarrassing.

    The witch hunters of hundreds of years ago would have loved this uneducated mentality.