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Canadian Geese Menace?

Is anything being done to try to better control the seemingly huge population of Canadian Geese? Not only are they a menace and health risk at my workplace in East Boise, but they invade my horse pasture in Robie Creek eating new grass and defecating everywhere. It seems to be getting worse and worse every year. I believe many of them never leave and have become year round residents. I've tried several things to repel them, coyote decoys, dog chasing, etc., but nothing seems to work. It's getting ridiculously annoying to the extent they were on top of the buildings at work crapping down the side of the windows as I came in this morning. How about increasing seasons or bag limits? I've heard limits are set in Canada, but many of the geese here never get that far north. Is anyone aware of the state of things in this area?

Answer

Canada geese are protected as migratory birds by the federal government and season framework is regulated by them.  However, we do have some leeway in how the rules are set in Idaho under their umbrella, and we have maximum allowable harvest opportunity in the area.  The problem with urban geese is that they find any open green grass near water and try to make a go of it.  I too have geese at my house and pasture.  There are city ordinances preventing shooting in city limits.  We banded several hundred geese in the parks to identify what percentage are resident vs. transient, and about 95% of the geese in Boise in winter come from other locations. 

 

Geese are trying to find places to nest right now and are desperate.  They likely will not be sticking around these locations if they cannot find decent nesting locations or are harassed.  Harassing must be done non lethally outside of the hunting season without a permit (recently, someone shot a goose with a nail gun and that is illegal).  Dogs work best but must be used consistently.  Also, there are chemical repellents available through online sources.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service can issue kill permits for depredation and nuisance reasons, but certain criteria likely will have to be met.  The parks are oiling eggs to reduce the number of new geese in the parks this year under permit by the USFWS.  Geese cannot be moved successfully so repellents, reducing reproduction, or lethal removal is necessary. 

 

I understand the challenges with urban geese but the responses are limited, may not always be successful, and require consistent efforts.  The good news is that many managers are finding that with consistent efforts using dogs and repellents, the numbers of geese in their area can be reduced.  Good luck.