Vermont’s hunting season for Canada geese began this past week
But the Quechee Club, which runs two golf courses, capitulated after animal rights groups and local residents pelted the club with social media messages and calls pleading for a more humane solution.
“It was so upsetting to hear,” said Maureen Bacon, a property owner who received an email from the club warning residents that they might hear gunfire. Ms. Bacon and her husband
According to the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, culling the population each year resident geese would “become a nuisance and a health hazard with their droppings on the courses.”
Such hunts are not unprecedented, but they can be unpopular.
“We’ve looked at a variety of options and we’re going to look at all of them again,” he said. Several calls to the club were not immediately returned.
Even if some of the birds had been shot, others would return, said David Feld, who runs GeesePeace, a
“This is so divisive in communities,” said Mr. Feld, a retired systems engineer who was inspired to form the organization in 2000 after his hometown, Lake Barcroft, Va., “
The population later dwindled, and in the 1960s and ’70s, state and federal Operation Mother Goose, which carefully relocated fragile nests and eggs, sometimes by helicopter, to safer habitats.
By the 1980s and ’90s, however, large numbers of geese were causing havoc in towns and cities, Mr. Feld said, especially at places like golf courses, which offer tidy lakes for safety and a buffet of manicured grass for grazing.
It is tempting to shoot the birds, he said, because “a dead goose is not a pooping goose.” An adult can excrete a pound a day.
For the last two decades, Mr. Feld and his organization have worked with the Humane Society and other groups to develop methods that stabilize the population, sometimes by coating eggs in corn oil, which cuts the flow of oxygen through the shell.
“They will leave if they don’t have goslings,” Mr. Feld said, and, most important, “if people don’t feed them.”
Another tactic to make the birds less comfortable: drive a Border collie around a lake in a motorboat.
Over the years, Mr. Feld has seen a lot of scam solutions for geese problems, like a plastic alligator with blinking red eyes, which might “scare a person.”
Vermont’s resident goose population has increased significantly since the early 1990s, according to data from the department.
“When they congregate into larger and larger numbers,” Mr. Porter said, “they can have an impact on farmers’ fields and on golf courses and on the environment itself.”
Fish and wildlife agencies at the state and federal levels have a “contradictory role,” he said, to “make sure that wildlife populations are healthy and abundant” while also “managing those populations.”
Hunting “is an essential tool for us to manage wildlife populations,” he added.
Vermont sets strict guidelines in coordination with the Atlantic Flyway Council, which limits the length of hunting seasons
Nevertheless, some are averse to the practice.
“We are consulting with wildlife rehabilitators, biologists and other experts to gather the best nonlethal options to share with the Quechee Club, should they decide to implement this approach,” she added.
A call to the Hartford town manager,
“People don’t need to fight,” said Mr. Feld of GeesePeace, who has not had any involvement in the Vermont controversy.
“There’s plenty of places that geese can go that nobody cares,” he said.
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