States Get Authority to Allow Farmers to Kill Resident Geese

Many waterfowl hunters enjoy special early goose seasons for burgeoning flocks of resident Canada geese deemed nuisances. But even that's not enough to keep their populations in check.

From this AP story:
For a farmer, few things are more frustrating than Canada geese descending like a biblical plague of locusts upon a freshly planted field to feast on soybean or corn shoots. Grower Dave Black, who farms more than 1,200 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans along the James River southeast of Richmond, has seen "a cloud of geese" glide onto his fields by the hundreds to pick them clean. "As soon as the corn starts emerging, up to knee high," Black said of the feathered pests that flock on his fields. "They're just back and forth." For years, growers such as Black had to ask the federal government for permission to kill resident Canada geese if attempts to shoo them off didn't work. By the time they received it ˜ weeks or even months later ˜ the geese had already gobbled up crops and flown away. Now, farmers in some states no longer need the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's permission to use lethal means to protect their fields from geese. The change in federal rules made in 2007 affects resident geese, not the migratory variety that fly south from Canada in September, and applies to 41 states, mostly in the Atlantic, Central and Mississippi flyways. Those states now can decide whether farmers can use lethal methods to control resident Canada geese, eliminating one layer of bureaucracy.

Predictably, the Humane Society of the United States thinks it's a bad idea...

The Humane Society of the United States says it's sympathetic to the plight of farmers but advocates alternatives to killing geese. It suggests "persistent and repetitive" efforts to disperse geese in fields and addling, or shaking, eggs to prevent them from developing and hatching. "Ultimately, these are the best and most humane ways of dealing with these birds," said John Hadidian, director of urban wildlife programs for the Humane Society.

Maybe I'm biased, but ultimately I think "more shotguns" is the best and most humane way of dealing with these birds. The country is obviously in desperate need of more goose hunters. Do your part this fall...