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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Giant Canada Goose Flocks in the United States

Management Issues
Mississippi Flyway

The rapid increase of giant Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway states during the past 20 years far exceeds that in any of the other flyways. During 1990, these states supported about 168,000 breeding Canada geese that produced about 255,000 goslings, and an estimated fall population of 527,000 birds (includes nonbreeders). About 85,000 of these geese are harvested annually by the respective states. The mid-December 1990 estimate of 400,000 giant Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway was greater than both the Tennessee Valley and Eastern Prairie Populations combined.

There is concern that the increasing numbers, broader distribution, and inability to distinguish giant Canada geese from other large forms of Canada geese is adversely impacting databases for population size, distribution, and harvest estimates. Giant Canada geese are beginning to make a significant contribution to the overall goose harvest in several states, but the magnitude needs to be better understood.

Resident flocks have become a valuable recreational and educational resource in many urban areas. As populations increase, nuisance complaints increase and public tolerance decreases. Problems occur in urban areas when large numbers of geese are associated with public water reservoirs, golf courses, recreational areas, industrial parks, airports, and private lawns. Crop depredations are increasing during the planting and growing seasons in the northern states. Geese also are alleged to pose human health hazards and create traffic problems in some areas. A variety of control methods have been used, with major emphasis on trapping and translocation to limit population growth and hunting to further reduce population levels where needed. These actions have met with limited success. More effective control methods are needed.

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