|Posted on Fri, Aug. 18, 2006|
Rule makes it easier to kill Canada geese
A U.S. agency lets towns kill pesky birds without a permit. There are better ways, critics said.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a new rule making it easier for farmers, airports, landowners, and public health officials to kill unwanted Canada geese without a government permit.
Animal-rights activists say there has to be a better way to deal with the birds, which have vexed towns in the Philadelphia region and elsewhere by gobbling up grass and leaving lots of droppings. But foes of the geese are applauding the measure, which took effect last week.
"This day has been a long time in coming," said U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R., N.J.), who has been working to control the geese population for years. "Canada geese are larger and more aggressive than native waterfowl. They have upset the natural ecology of our waterways."
The rule's provisions allow:
Airports, public health officials, and landowners to destroy nests and eggs without federal permits.
Private and public airports to round up the birds for destruction without federal permits.
Local governments to round up the birds if they threaten public health at reservoirs, athletic fields, parks or public beaches.
The rule also lets states establish August hunting seasons for the birds. The existing season is Sept. 1 to March 10.
The rule is a response to "growing impacts from overabundant populations of resident Canada geese," the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
In the Atlantic Flyway, the agency said, the resident Canada goose population has increased an average of 2 percent a year in the last four years and was estimated at 1.15 million in the spring. The national total exceeds 3.3 million.
"This final rule offers the essential flexibility needed for effective natural-resource management," agency director Dale Hall said in a statement.
John Hadidian, urban wildlife program director for the Humane Society of the United States, said the Fish and Wildlife Service was trying to bring down the nation's resident Canada goose population by one million.
"That means killing that many birds every year, for the next 10 years," Hadidian said. "That's appalling."
The Humane Society says so many would have to be killed to reduce the population because, on average, a goose has five eggs in a nest, which take about a month to incubate. If a nest is destroyed, a goose often simply lays another clutch of eggs.
Community measures to get rid of the birds include sterilizing eggs, destroying nests, or rounding up the birds when they are molting and can't fly and taking them to commercial poultry houses, where they are killed, Hadidian said.
He said the new rule destroyed any way for his organization and others to keep track of how the geese were eliminated. The Humane Society favors creating migration spots where the birds won't be a nuisance to humans.
"They are very smart birds, and they learn right away where they are and are not tolerated," Hadidian said.
Tue, Aug. 15, 2006
Agency makes it easier to hunt, get rid of geese
By SAMMY FRETWELL
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service loosened hunting rules last week for resident Canada geese after years of complaints from frustrated suburbanites.
Under the new rules, states can establish August hunting seasons for resident Canada geese, while allowing sportsmen easier ways to kill the big birds. Commercial farmers and airport managers also could kill Canada geese without federal permits, federal officials said Monday.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has already increased the bag limit and days people can hunt Canada geese next month, but it won’t extend the hunting season to include August of this year because the federal rule just came out.
Tim Ivey, a DNR waterfowl expert, said the agency must study whether an August 2007 goose season is worthwhile in South Carolina. Other parts of the rule also must be reviewed, he said.
But homeowners frustrated by Canada geese said the looser federal rules are a sign of progress.
“I’m 100 percent for it,” said Northeast Richland resident John Cole, whose neighborhood pond is full of Canada geese. “We need to do something. Most of my St. Augustine grass is gone.”
Resident Canada geese, imported to Southern states decades ago for hunting, have increasingly taken up residence in suburban areas and made a mess. The birds eat people’s lawns and leave mounds of droppings on grass and at public boat ramps.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been looking for ways to loosen rules for killing the birds. The agency has in the past required other government departments, commercial farms and airports to obtain permits to kill the birds. The new rule would not require that in some cases, service officials say.
Critics of the rules say the government should protect the majestic birds, not make it easier to slaughter them. Canada geese are large black, gray and white birds that live near ponds and lakes.
“This is going to be open field day on geese,” said Sumter’s Marie Speel, who fought a government goose roundup in her neighborhood this summer. “They are going to torture these poor animals.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service says the resident Canada goose population has risen 2 percent per year on the East Coast during the past four years. There are about 1.5 million resident Canada geese in the East and about 25,000 in South Carolina, according to the service and the state DNR.
“This final rule offers the essential flexibility needed for effective natural resource management,” said Dale Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
According to the Thursday decision:
• Sportsmen could “unplug’’ shot guns during the early September goose season. That would allow them to fire more rounds at geese without being required to reload.
• Sportsmen could use electronic goose calls to attract the birds during the early hunting season.
• The DNR could allow goose-hunting from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31. The traditional season has started in September and ended in mid-winter. The DNR also could extend hunting hours.
• The change will apply to places where hunting is already legal; not in people’s backyards.
Reach Fretwell at (803) 771-8537.
NEW FEDERAL RULES MAY SPELL DOOM FOR CANADA GEESE
By Choo Choo Love
November 23, 2005
The Canada Goose: noble, dignified, sensitive, lovable, intelligent, majestic, loyal beyond all bounds to mate and family ...doomed, if government has its way.
Since the 1990s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has wilfully and maliciously sought to kill millions of so-called "resident" Canada geese. Geese have been rounded up and either gassed or butchered during their grounded and most vulnerable time: the molt. These geese, who find themselves born in the wrong place at the wrong time, are in those cities because of Man's tampering with nature.
Up to 1961, the Giant Canada goose was thought to be extinct, the result of Man's greed and lust for blood (over-hunting). Until Hanson discovered them in Rochester, MN, in 1962. Eggs were stolen from nests, incubated and hatched in labs, and goslings exported to various cities in order to bring the giant Canada goose back from the brink of extinction. Government agencies collected duck stamps from hunters and so-called "conservation" agencies like Ducks Unlimited preserved wetlands and grew crops in them in order to increase the population of geese, not for altruistic reasons, mind you, but only to have enough geese out there to fulfil their blood-thirsty lust for the cruel and barbaric "sport" of hunting.
These exported geese did not know how to migrate. Unlike juvenile arctic terns who find their own way south, juvenile Canada geese do not migrate back up to Canada unless their parents or other family members show them the way.
The new federal laws that will allow states to "control" so-called resident Canada geese populations may spell doom for the innocent creatures whose only crimes are that of being born a Canada goose in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Please read the articles below for more information about this tragic situation.
November 21, 2005
Management of Canada goose outlined in EIS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the release of a final Environmental Impact Statement that outlines various alternatives to reduce, manage, and control resident Canada goose populations and reduce related damages.
Of the alternatives, the Service's proposed action will allow state wildlife agencies, landowners, and airports more flexibility in controlling resident Canada goose populations.
The Service took this action in response to widespread concern about overabundant populations of resident Canada geese, which can damage property, agriculture, and natural resources in parks and other open areas near water.
“Resident Canada geese populations have increased dramatically over the past 15 years,” said Service Director H. Dale Hall. “These high population levels have been shown to cause problems for natural and economic resources, and we believe increased local management with national oversight is the best approach to reduce conflicts and bring the population under control. Through this approach, the Service will continue working to expand and protect hunting opportunity while providing airports, private landowners, and State and local officials the tools they need to address resident Canada goose issues.”
“Resident Canada goose management is particularly challenging because of the diversity of society's perspectives regarding the year-round presence of these birds, but the growth of these resident populations causes problems that compel population management,” said John Cooper, president of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The Service worked closely with the State fish and wildlife agencies in the development of the strategies reflected in the rule to provide a full suite of options to the states to manage resident populations. We sincerely appreciate that close engagement by both the Service and the State fish and wildlife agencies and look forward to continued close cooperation with the Service.”
During the last 10 years, the resident Canada goose population in the Atlantic flyway has increased an average of 1 percent per year to more than 1 million birds. The Mississippi flyway has seen a growth of 5 percent per year to 1.6 million birds.
The preferred alternative in this FEIS consists of three main program components. The first component creates four specific control and depredation orders for airports, landowners, agricultural producers and public health officials. These orders would be targeted to address resident Canada goose depredation, damage and conflict management.
Presently, State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies or their authorized agents, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service division, need a Federal permit issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service to control resident Canada geese where they are causing conflicts with public resources. These new orders will allow take of resident Canada geese without a federal permit provided agencies fulfill certain reporting and monitoring requirements.
The second component consists of expanded hunting methods and opportunities and would be targeted to increase the sport harvest of resident Canada geese. Under this component, States could choose to expand shooting hours and allow hunters the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns.
The third component consist of a new regulation authorizing a resident Canada goose population control program, or Management Take. Under Management Take, the take of resident Canada geese outside the existing sport hunting seasons (September 1 to March 10) would be authorized and would enable States to authorize a harvest of resident Canada geese during the August 1 through August 31 period. These dates are important because wild migratory Canada geese have not arrived from the breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada.
Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico. Only State wildlife agencies and Tribal entities in the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyway could implement these components for resident Canada geese. The Pacific Flyway requested these states not be included because they have fewer issues with resident Canada geese. For agricultural issues, states in the Pacific Flyway will continue to apply for federal permits.
The Service received more than 2,900 submitted written comments on the 2002 draft EIS and more than 400 people attended 11 public meetings across the country. Written comments were received from 2,657 private individuals, 33 state wildlife resource agencies, 37 non-governmental organizations, 29 local governments, 5 Federal/State legislators, 4 Flyway Councils, 4 Federal agencies, 3 tribes, 3 businesses, and 2 State agricultural agencies.
Based on comments on the draft EIS, the Service modified the perferred alternative by removing some areas from some components of the program (Pacific Flyway States), adding some affected publics (airports), and changing some of the program administration (State administration to Federal administration).
For the most part, resident Canada geese generally stay in the same area or migrate only short distances. There is no evidence that resident Canada geese breed with migratory Canada geese that nest in northern Canada and Alaska. The rapid rise of resident Canada geese populations has been attributed to a number of factors. Key among these is that most resident Canada geese live in temperate climates with relatively stable breeding habitat conditions.
They tolerate human and other disturbances, have a relative abundance of habitat such as mowed grass and waterways, and fly relatively short distances for winter compared with migratory Canada goose populations. The virtual absence of waterfowl hunting and natural predators in urban areas provides additional protection to those portions of the resident population.
Expansion of existing annual hunting season and the issuance of control permits have all been used to reduce resident goose numbers with varying degrees of success. While these approaches have provided relief in some areas, they have not completely addressed the issues.
Federal geese killing plan is criticized
Washington November 18, 2005 12:01:13 AM IST
The Humane Society of the United States is criticizing a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to kill millions of Canada geese across the nation.
The service wants to cull the U.S. population of the birds by killing up to 800,000 geese and their goslings annually for 10 years, the Society said.
The organization's senior vice president, John Grandy, said the plan contradicts the expressed desire of the public.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself notes that 94 percent of over 2,900 public comments it received on the proposed rule ... opposed lethal methods, said Grandy, a waterfowl biologist. This isn't just a mandate, rather it is an imperative.
Once rare due to over-hunting, the number of Canadian geese in the United States significantly increased during the 1950s and 1960s due to federal and state breeding and relocation projects.
Mowed grass on golf courses, parks, and lawns provide abundant food for geese, while waterways and ponds give safety from predators.
Some communities worry about sizeable amounts of goose waste that accumulate where the birds congregate. But the Society said, Goose droppings are certainly not a reason to kill millions of animals.
Geese fouling your mood? Help is on the way
New federal rules could reduce resident population
Tired of the Canada geese that hang around all year, messing up your parks and sidewalks with their droppings? Some relief could be coming your way next year.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that it plans to give certain states and their residents more ways to control growing resident Canada goose populations.
As the agency proposed a couple of years ago, it plans to transfer authority over goose-control issues to states in the Atlantic, Central and Mississippi flyways, including Minnesota, eliminating the cumbersome process of first obtaining federal control permits. It also plans to allow those regions to designate hunters to kill geese in August and to ease restrictions for hunters taking part in special September goose-hunting seasons.
Friday's recommendation, which is expected to be made final early next year, is generally similar to one made a couple of years ago but differs in many details. Once issued, it will be up to the states to decide whether to take advantage of the more flexible rules.
"We're looking at it and trying to understand what it all means and what options might be available to further our efforts to manage our resident Canada goose population,'' said Bryan Lueth, urban area wildlife manager for the Department of Natural Resources.
Most Canada geese are migratory, wintering in the lower 48 states and migrating to summer breeding grounds in Canada or Alaska. But suitable habitat, such as park-like expanses of short grass and nearby ponds, has produced growing numbers of locally breeding geese, especially in urban and suburban areas.
Not only can those geese cause safety problems at airports, they eat agricultural crops and foul waters with excessive droppings.
"We have created the perfect habitat for them, with parks, golf courses and no predator hunting,'' said Nicholas Throckmorton, a spokesman for the fish and wildlife agency.
There are an estimated 3.2 million resident Canada geese nationwide, with 305,000 in Minnesota, or almost 70 percent more than the state's 182,000 population goal. Despite efforts to control them, their population has been growing at a 5 percent annual rate.
The new rule would allow states to give permission to public health authorities, farmers and private landowners to destroy nests or eggs and to kill birds without a federal permit.
Besides allowing August goose kills, states could allow hunters in September to use unplugged shotguns that hold more shells, to use electronic calls and to hunt an extra 30 minutes in the evening, or until a half-hour after sunset.
If the new approach brings resident goose populations under control, the federal agency said it would suspend it.
Dennis Lien can be reached at email@example.com or 651-228-5588.
Home News Tribune Online 11/19/05
WASHINGTON — Communities are going to have an easier time getting rid of Canada geese that infest their neighborhoods, destroy natural habitats and pose a health risk.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week issued new guidelines that permit more time and the use of more efficient techniques to eradicate resident Canada geese. Expected to take effect by the end of this year, the rules apply only to geese that live permanently in the continental United States and those that migrate from Alaska and Canada.
Animal-rights groups generally object to the mass killing of geese, criticizing the government-sponsored practice as inhumane. But the chance to cull the goose population appeals to Ann O'Brien, a retired piano teacher who lives in Mount Laurel, N.J.
Since she moved to her new house five years ago, O'Brien and her neighbors have put up with aggressive birds who make crossing the street difficult and whose droppings are a health issue. They've spent thousands of dollars putting up fences, planting vegetation and spraying the neighborhood with chemicals that repel the geese.
"They are ugly, they are ferocious and . . . they wake you up at 5 o'clock," she said. "It's been a very expensive move for those of us on fixed incomes."
The new rules allow states to extend during hunting season the number of hours in the day when resident geese can be shot and permit the shooting of geese during August, when the migratory birds are not around. They also permit hunters to unplug their shotguns (allowing for faster and more frequent shooting), and allow the use of electronic calls, which are more effective in luring geese.
Some of the new rules, such as extended hunting hours, do not apply to states west of the Rocky Mountains because problems with resident geese there are not as bad.
Many of these measures have been available to states, but they have had to seek federal permission in most cases, a potentially cumbersome process. The new rules will give communities greater ability to addle eggs, destroy nests and kill geese — even in suburban areas — without approval from Washington.
The population of resident Canada geese in the United States has soared since the 1960s, from about a few thousand to roughly 3.5 million today, according to Fish and Wildlife spokesman Chris Tollefson. Mid-Atlantic states such as New Jersey have become attractive breeding grounds because the weather is temperate, there's plenty of water and the freshly mowed parks offer an abundance of short grass, a staple of a goose's diet.
"These resident populations really have the ideal life," Tollefson said. "They have all these parks and golf courses. They can't be hunted in the middle of towns. Their mortality rates are pretty low and their reproductive success is pretty high."
Rep. James Saxton, R-N.J., who had pushed for the changes in Congress, applauded the new rules.
"They are too large and too numerous to live in our small ponds and waterways," said Saxton, referring to the birds that can grow to 24 pounds. "It is setting the natural ecology off balance."
On the Web:
www.fws.gov/migratorybirds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management.
http://www.hsus.org, Humane Society of the United States and search term "Canada geese."
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. If you reside in the United States, please contact your member of Congress. Protest the decision of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Impact Statement.
2. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org (US Fish and Wildlife) stating your opposition to the EIS.
3. If you do not reside in the United States, do not visit the United States. Write to email@example.com (US Fish and Wildlife) protesting the EIS and inform them that you will not be spending your tourist dollars in the US as long as they continue with their merciless plans.
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