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 geese

11.01.2006 (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)

A SECRET Canada geese cull on Lake Wairarapa yesterday has been described as being a bleak day in the annals of wildlife management in New Zealand.

Wellington Fish and Game staff mounted a helicopter operation to find and destroy hundreds of the birds early yesterday morning, an act that has outraged game hunters.

The Canada geese were apparently shot by shotguns firing lead shot so that the helicopter would not be damaged by ricochets from steel shot.

Game hunter Neil Hayes said the Black Friday shootings were "a secret massacre" kept from the Fish and Game Council's own members, of which he is one.

He said there was nowhere else in the world that the Canada goose had been subjected to "such maligned and totally obnoxious abuse.

"On top of this inane massacre, lead shot was used.

"Last year the use of lead shot was prohibited on all New Zealand wetlands so how on earth did the Fish and Game Council suddenly change the law?"

He said Fish and Game would now surely struggle to convict any waterfowl hunter from using lead shot on wetlands.

Fish and Game seemed to have completely forgotten that they were responsible to members, he said.

"Being one, I can assure your newspaper's readers that I was never consulted about the commission of such a serious event."

Mr Hayes said those responsible for what he called "wildlife management by default" should either seek other employment or be re-trained.

The Canadian goose that has been in New Zealand since the 1880s and in "civilised countries" is the most important game bird and is in practice very easy to control, he said.

"There are thousands of hunters in Wellington province who are well prepared to keep goose populations under control.

"Fish and Game will, of course, say this hasn't happened, but this is simply untrue.

"What I believe is true is that Fish and Game management is so removed from real-life wildlife management that they have actually gone out of their way to discourage game bird hunting members from hunting Canada geese."

Mr Hayes said most game bird hunters welcomed New Zealand Fish and Game taking over the functions of acclimatisation societies about 15 years ago.

"Now most undoubtedly believe that any form of wildlife management by the present Wellington Fish and Game Council is noticeable by its absence."



Please click on the banner to visit LOVE CANADA GEESE!