Experts to help estimate Bella Vista's Canada Goose Population
June 30, 2009

BELLA VISTA — Biologists will work on Bella Vista Village’s lakes next week to help determine the community’s Canada goose population.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and USGS Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit will capture, band and release Canada geese. The reason is to provide the Property Owners Association with a scientific method of estimating the population of resident Canada geese living in Bella Vista, a POA news release said.
Darrell Bowman, the association’s lakes ecologist and fisheries manager, and two volunteers will assist with the process.
After banding, geese will be surveyed to determine the ratio of marked birds (with bands) to unmarked birds (without bands), which can be used to estimate the overall population.
This data is necessary to evaluate the success of measures to control or reduce the goose population in the future, the release said. Currently, the association is only able to use egg oiling as a population-control measure. Egg oiling is a process where nests are located and eggs in the nest are dipped in cooking oil. The coat of oil prevents the eggs from developing, yet the mother goose does not attempt to re-nest or re-lay new eggs. Egg oiling takes a great deal of time and work from volunteers and the association’s staff.  
The University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are helping because this provides an opportunity to further develop methods of capturing and assessing population control over time, said David Krementz, cooperative research unit leader.


Canada geese in Bella Vista dodge a bullet

BELLA VISTA - Bella Vista City Council aldermen shot down a proposed ordinance amendment and gave Canada geese a stay of execution.

Three citizens spoke at the City Council meeting Monday, asking aldermen to deny the Property Owners Association a permit that would allow them to kill 100 Canada geese.

The POA has asked for permission from the state to eliminate the birds, claiming they are a nuisance. The proposal to kill the birds garnered protests from local and international people alike.

Bella Vista has an ordinance that prohibits the discharge of firearms within the city limits, and aldermen were asked at Monday's council meeting to consider an amendment to change that.

The proposed amendment to the ordinance would have allowed the city to grant permits to discharge firearms within city limits.

Discussion centered around who would grant the permits, which was not specified in the document.

Alderwoman Arline Hutchinson asked who would approve the permits. Attorney Jason Kelley pointed out that the permitting process would not be discretionary; in other words, no one could be turned down.

Alderman Doug Farner made a motion that the City Council should approve the applications by a vote of the aldermen.

Kelley noted that approval of the permits could not be arbitrary - there would have to be a set standard on which to approve or deny the permits, or the city could be sued in federal court.

"The city cannot act arbitrarily," Kelley said.

"It's difficult to have an approval process if you're going to allow permitting," Mayor Frank Anderson said. "Really the only things we could think of to disallow it would be if they were too close to buildings, or the size of the property - things like that."

"I understand what Jason's saying, but I, as a member of this council, would be willing to take my chances with having the council have the final say on any permit," Farner said.

Farner and Alderman George Holmes voted in favor of the City Council approving the permitting process. Hutchinson, Earl Berdine, Dick Rooney and Pat Cox voted against the ordinance amendment.

After further discussion, Holmes made a motion to table the amendment, which would effectively remove it from the council's consideration at this time. The motion was unanimously approved.

   POA Board votes to cook goose

By Douglas Grant Staff Writer

February 20, 2009

BELLA VISTA - For the second year in a row, the Property Owners Association Board of Directors has applied for permission to kill some of the Canada geese in the city. The only difference this time is that the board is ready to do it.

By a 5-3 vote Thursday evening, board members approved the killing of up to 100 of the birds, assuming a federal permit to do so is issued. Since the geese are federally protected, any killing of the geese must be done so with the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The POA had a similar permit last year; however, the board held off on any lethal elimination of the geese until other, less severe, means were researched. 

That research took the form of a visit from GeesePeace, a Virginia based group that has had success removing and reducing the number of geese through nonlethal means, such as oiling eggs to retard production, and site aversion, or harassment, with trained dogs.

Along with the depredation permit application, board members agreed Thursday to use the oiling; however, they chose to wait and see what sort of success they might have with that and killing up to 10 percent of the birds before investing what could be tens of thousands of dollars in an aversion program.

Assuming the permit is issued, the last hurdle the POA Board will have to clear is approval from the Bella Vista City Council to use firearms in the city limits.

If all of that falls into place, the birds will have to be eliminated before Aug. 31, the day the federal document expires.

Any birds killed would go to a charitable organization responsible for supplying food to the needy, although which one would be the recipient was not discussed Thursday.

Director Anita Werts, who has been opposed to killing the birds, said she has had time to think about it since last year and has changed her mind to a certain extent.

"I've come to grips that we're going to have to take some lethal action; but we haven't oiled any eggs yet; ... try it first and see what decrease in numbers (we get)."

Director Jan Keirsey asked why a vote had to be taken when the same board had approved the permit application in 2008.

Board attorney Chastity Clark explained that the approval of the board expired with the permit on Aug. 31, 2008.

The motion to approve the permit and its use of lethal force was made by Director Bill Johnson and seconded by George DeGroot.

When the attorney asked for hands approving the motion, at least a dozen audience members raised theirs showing support for the plan.

Werts, Tom Wooters and Andy O'Neil voted against the motion. O'Neil is out of town, and Wooters had his proxy vote.


Are Arkansas geese different?

Perhaps the droppings of Canada geese in Arkansas are bigger and badder than those of our Canadas here in New Hampshire. I think not.

Sure, they poop here, too. Is it not a terribly small price to pay for having these magnificent birds close to us during their all-too short season in the north?

Can't imagine property owners - Bella Vista or anywhere - wanting to destroy such creatures.

Should this killing take place, I assume that the gunners will be using steel shot, causing more injuries than deaths. Lead pellets or steel, I hope the needy who are to receive the carcasses for food are ready to pay for the broken teeth from the pellets.
Guy Stoye / Danbury, N.H

Give birds a break

Bella Vista's decision to proceed with its plan to kill Canada geese for doing what comes naturally to them exposes the darker side of mankind and reminds us that we still have a long way to go before malice and self-absorption are replaced with empathy and selflessness for the highest good.
Sharon Pawlak / Medford, N.J.

The writer is national coordinator of the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese.

When in doubt, shoot

In their infinite wisdom, the Property Owners Association Board has made the decision to eliminate the Canada geese population here by shooting them.

You know, that may be the answer to several problems/situations, actually.

I took some time and thought about it more and decided that if I just simply shot the things that annoy me or that I don't like, I would solve a few things.

How about the traffic light at Trafalgar and U.S. 71 that doesn't seem to be working half the time. Should I just shoot it?

Or the many stray cats in the neighborhood that I feed, as they have no home. Should they be shot, as some don't like them?

How about the idiot driving 40 mph in the passing lane while talking on a cell phone - shoot him and get him out of the way?

Are the deer a problem in your garden? Squirrels and chipmunks? Do the birds pester you?

Hmmmm, maybe there IS an answer!

I guess that in this economy, the POA Board was at least smart enough not to spend $11,000 on a contract with the GeesePeace folks. That shows that maybe, just maybe, they actually have the majority of the property owners in mind when making fiscal decisions.

Now, I am not all that well informed on religion and am sure this really doesn't apply to things other than people, but does "thou shalt not kill" not mean anything anymore?

Maybe we can just replace the geese with those plastic replicas and pretend nothing happened.
Brian Grosnickle / Bella Vista

No tolerance for wildlife

Regarding the geese of Bella Vista: It's sad that the Bella Vista Property Owners Association has not made any effort to actually employ nonlethal tactics for the geese.

Why does our society have no tolerance for wildlife? We take their space, and then we kill them for wanting to share it with us. Is our society so ignorant to think that wildlife serves no purpose in our ecosystem?

There are so many humane methods of deterring geese that are proven to work far better than the tactics proposed by Bella Vista. It's going to be a black stain on what the Web site claims to be a "beautiful town."
Jennifer Gordon
Indian Trail, N.C.



Please write to the Mayor and the City Council (email addresses below) to:

  1. Urge them not to give the Bella Vista Property Owner's Association the permission to shoot the geese. There is a City Ordinance that states that there's to be no hunting within the city and the POA is requesting a permit to hunt geese in the city.
  2. Utilize the humane and effective methods proposed by GeesePeace.
Another suggestion:
  1. Tell them that Bella Vista's decision to proceed with the killing of the geese for doing what comes naturally to them is ugly and cruel public policy to the rest of the world. 



Please write a Letter to the Editor of The Weekly Vista as well:

Please write the Board of Directors of the Bella Vista Property Owners Association. Give them a piece of your mind for voting to kill the geese and not employing the humane techniques endorsed and proposed by GeesePeace:


We thank you for taking the time to help save our feathered friends.