Annual in-city goose hunt takes flight Friday, September 1, 2006

The eighth annual in-city goose hunt will begin Friday morning in certain designated areas - coinciding with the opener of the state's early goose season - within the Sault Ste. Marie City Limits.


Annual city goose hunt set for Thursday

September 13, 2005

By SCOTT BRAND/The Evening News

SAULT STE. MARIE - More than a dozen pre-selected hunters will join forces with the Sault Police Department on Thursday when the city of Sault Ste. Marie hosts its seventh annual goose hunt.

"We stress safety," said Parks and Recreation Director Dan Wyers, "everything is done by the book."

The hunters will be limited to specific locations such as the football field, airport, and the old McKinley Elementary. Participating police officers will have a little more freedom to roam into more sensitive areas frequented by the geese with Rotary Park serving as the prime example. Wyers said on Monday afternoon that it had yet to be determined if Ashmun Bay would be utilized as a hunting location this year.

While the early goose season runs the first 10 days of September, Wyers said past hunts have shown the geese quickly wise up, greatly reducing hunting opportunities within the first three or four days. As a result, Wyers predicted, 90 percent, if not more, of the shooting will be concluded by the end of the weekend.

The city approved the first in-city goose hunt back in 1999 after listening to complaints from a variety of sources. Those who resided on the waterfront complained loudly of excessive goose droppings in their yards. Golfers also joined in those complaints, as did activity organizers for the local athletic teams who found their players' uniforms getting caked in goose droppings during practice drills and games.

Wyers said Rotary Park was one of the worst areas. Not only did the droppings make it virtually impossible for children to remain clean while playing in this area, but there were even reports of "aggressive" geese coming after the youngsters.

These problems were only further compounded in the past when the early goose season pushed the birds from outlying areas into the city limits, creating what Wyers called the "refuge effect." Hunters were sitting idle in various fields and ponds waiting for geese that never came. With the in-city hunt, some birds are harvested right here, but others were dispersed out into the community - increasing opportunities for the outlying hunters.

"They're hunting for food and doing the city a favor at the same time," said Wyers. "It's a win-win situation."

The in-city goose hunt is just one of a number of activities the city has done in recent years to control the Canada goose population. Officials have also conducted a relocation project, moving many of the young birds to other areas of the state and have also participated in egg removal and nest destruction under a federal permit.

Wyers explained that it never has been, and never will be, his intent to remove all of the Canada geese from inside the city. His only wish is to control their numbers, allowing the parks to remain clean and usable.