NOTE: January 16, 2006, NZ Fish and Game mounted a helicopter operation to find and destroy hundreds of Canada geese. Please see article below this one.
Secret plan to kill 800 geese11.01.2006 (January 11, 2006)
GOOSE hunters in Wairarapa are outraged at what they believe is a secret plan by New Zealand Fish and Game to cull 800 Canada geese at Lake Wairarapa this week.
Neil Hayes, of Carterton, said yesterday he had got wind of the plan, which he said proved to hunters that Fish and Game could only manage bird populations "by default".
"If a cull is necessary – and we don't believe it is – it should be done in a sporting manner with all game licence holders given the opportunity to participate."
Fish and Game field officer Blake Abernethy was in rural Wairarapa yesterday but when contacted on his cellphone refused to make comment on an intended cull.
All Mr Abernethy was willing to say was that he would comment further "when it is all done and dusted".
Mr Hayes said it was expected the cull would be carried out before the end of the working week.
He had been told this "over the grapevine, which is working overtime".
Mr Hayes said it wasn't that long ago that Fish and Game were intent on prosecuting a South Wairarapa hunter for shooting "three or four" Canada geese but had dropped the charges and were now involved in a mass slaughter of their own.
He said whereas it was true that large numbers of uncontrolled Canada geese could devastate paddocks of new grass, there were alternatives to trying to wipe them out.
"About 20 years ago a man who farms 3000 acres in the South Island was crying on my shoulder about the geese destroying his farm.
"I suggested a few options to him and when I caught up with him two years later he told me he no longer had a goose problem.
"He had handed their management over to a hunting guide and had large numbers of American hunters coming out to shoot them.
"The farmer was making as much money out of that as he was from farming, which shows there are alternatives to mass slaughter and that with informed management the Canada goose is really an asset."
The Canada geese problem in South Wairarapa came to a head early last year with several different points of view emerging about what should be done with the species.
Whereas game hunters wanted to be included in their management, with options similar to those expressed by Mr Hayes, Federated Farmers called for the ultimate eradication of Canada geese.
The organisation's Wairarapa president, Jim Weston, said the birds were no better than rabbits or possums – pests that should be wiped out.
Secret goose cull goes ahead
16.01.2006 (January 16, 2006)