Hometown Geese and Nuisance Geese
A Local Goose Season Means No Nuisance Geese
Editor’s Note: In the fall every year and well into the winter in some areas, many states hold resident-goose seasons to rid the regions of too-many geese. Chris Kirby, the president of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, says of these nuisance geese, “These birds have few natural predators, and their numbers can build-up quickly.” Like other avid nuisance-goose hunters, Kirby hopes to help control the goose population by harvesting resident geese in September before other birds come down the flyway.
I could hear the honkers overhead and fought the urge to look. I kept my eyes firmly planted on the Super Magnum Carry Lite decoy's beak resting against the bill of my hat. My index finger rested on the safety of my shotgun as I waitednervously for Chris Kirby to call the shot. The geese circled once more, and Kirby lowered the volume of his calling. “They're coming in this time,” he said. “Get ready. They should be right in front of us when I call the shot.” I lay on my back in a wheat field in upstate New York just outside the town of Franklinville, ready to participate in New York’s special goose season strictly for resident geese. Many of these geese lived on golf courses or near sub-development ponds and farm ponds. Without the local goose season, these birds would become nuisances.
“Our resident goose season's 18-years-old this year (2008),” Kirby told me. “New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) determined the best way to control the resident geese population was to provide an early season during the month of September to harvest the geese before the flyway geese came down. My friend Dick Duffy of Franklinville and I have hunted these geese for some years. I believe New York's season provides some of the finest goose hunting in the nation.” In the silence of the early morning, I listened and could hear the big geese coming in to light. When Kirby shouted, "Take 'em!" I threw the decoy off my chest and came up shooting. But with geese feet in my face, I became more interested in watching the big geese try to back-pedal and gain altitude than looking for the bead on the end of my barrel. Even after my Remington 1187 reported three times, I failed to cut a feather. But Kirby and Duffy each scored on honkers.
“John, what happened?” Kirby asked. “The geese were in your face. I can't believe you didn't drop one. Did your gun malfunction?” “No, I can't blame it on the gun or the shells,” I said with a sheepish grin. “I couldn't see to shoot accurately because I had geese feet in my face.” Kirby and Duffy laughed heartily and said, “Don't worry, John, you'll do better next time. We'll collect the birds and wait on the next flight.” Many states hold their resident-goose seasons during September. According to Kirby, “Many of the waterways, ponds and streams are being polluted by geese excretions. These birds have few natural predators, and their numbers can increase quickly.” The Atlantic Flyway season usually permits hunters to take only two geese a day. But the NYDEC knew New York homed prime breeding and nesting areas for resident flocks of geese and decided that hunters could take more geese, every day of the season to try and help control the goose population.
Tomorrow: Tactics for Hunting Resident Geese