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Giant Canada Goose Flocks in the United States

Management Implications

Restoration programs for giant Canada geese in the central United States and Canada, and similar efforts with stocks of the western Canada goose in other parts of both countries, have resulted in rapidly expanding local breeding populations. Increases have been aided by limitations on hunting until populations reached certain levels. Most urban areas prohibit hunting, resulting in high survival rates. In many areas, these prolific, resident geese are becoming overly abundant, cause a variety of problems, and are considered "nuisance geese."

Management practices and population control techniques attempted to date include: (1) trapping and relocation as the primary method used in some regions, but this will be limited as the demand for goose restocking decreases; (2) scare devices and other fear-provoking stimuli for some crop depredation control and at domestic water supply systems; (3) chemical agents used as repellents to reduce damage by geese foraging and fouling golf courses, urban parks, and private lawns (success has been limited); (4) habitat manipulation such as conversion or elimination of attractive foods, loafing sites, nesting sites, and water; (5) hunting in some urban areas (if accepted locally), incorporating liberalized harvest regimes into state and local hunting programs to help control urban geese (local hunting restrictions and limited access pose problems); (6) disruption of nests and addling of eggs in high-density nesting areas to control reproduction (but are labor intensive); (7) sterilization of ganders in high density nesting areas; (8) strong consideration in some midwestern and eastern states to direct removal of portions of local populations and utilization in a socially acceptable manner, i.e., for human consumption through welfare agencies; (9) the use of kill permits designed to remove portions of populations in areas where public health problems, safety hazards, or serious damage to property or crops occur; and (10) management plans developed by some midwestern states in cooperation with municipal governments to establish local population objectives and acceptable control methods.

There is growing concern about the mixing of populations and the impact on indexes to population size and harvest estimates of specific populations. Attempts are underway in some areas to better identify the proportion of giant Canada geese in these surveys.

There have been limited public relations efforts to increase public awareness of increasing populations of resident Canada geese and required control measures. This effort needs more emphasis.

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