Geese, guns and golf are a volatile mix at this Oregon golf course…

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The Williams family has spent 17 mostly enjoyable years living across from the ninth hole of the Bayou Golf Course on scenic Southwest Bayou Drive. They have gorgeous green views beckoning from their bedroom, dining room, family room and kitchen windows. Unsettling late fall incidents, however, have intruded last year and this year. The first came about 5:30 one morning last fall. A startling series of gunshots had everyone getting out of bed to see what was causing the commotion. To their horror, Claudia Williams said, they spotted a group of rifle-toting men decked out in camouflage with hunting dogs at their sides.



_”They were slaughtering the geese,” she said. “We had a direct view of what was going on. “They were setting up decoys, hiding behind bushes and shooting them. It was upsetting to watch.” Williams found it so upsetting she called law enforcement authorities. She was told that licensed hunters are free to hunt on private property during the season with the owner’s permission. She learned the Canada goose season was open the 2010-11 season runs Nov. 20-Jan. 12 and Feb. 5-March 9 and the hunters had permission.

It has happened several times this year, the most recent last Wednesday morning. “It started at the first hint of light,” she said. “It woke us up. It’s loud. It started about 6:45, and went on for at least two hours. If hunters were out that early, they were in clear violation of the law, because goose hunting is prohibited before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m., according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Michelle Dennehy. On a Sunday morning earlier this month, the family looked out and spotted two hunters on the course. “I yelled at them, Please don’t do this. We can see what you are doing and it’s upsetting to us,” she said. “They just ignored us.”

Greg Brown said geese are attracted to ponds, water features, grassy fairways and manicured greens. In large numbers, he said, they inflict a lot of damage, especially on the greens. He said the goose problem is worst at holes 6 and 7, due to the proximity of the pond gracing the Williams family’s prized view…He added, “We use licensed hunters. They’re looking for places to hunt. This is a public course on private property. They are abiding by all the rules that are set down. They’re not out to slaughter the geese. They hunt what is allowed.” The state’s fish and wildlife agency is well aware of the affinity of geese for golf courses and the damage they can do. It comes down firmly with the ownership side. “Hunting is legal,” Dennehy said. “The season is open. Hunters need to have the appropriate licenses and tags, and the landowner must allow the hunt. If everything is in place, the hunt is legal.” The daily bag limit is four dark geese and four white geese._

Your reaction? Personally I can think of no better use for a golf course than as a place to shoot a few geese…