Urban Canada Geese in Missouri
all goose populations present in Missouri must be considered when managing any one of them.
For example, giant Canada geese have many advantages over members of the other populations. Their longevity, consistent productivity, high survival and affinity for urban landscapes all contribute to sustained population growth. Meanwhile, other populations face obstacles such as short breeding seasons in unpredictable climates. The statewide goose harvest in Missouri reflects these differences, with the proportion of giant Canada geese steadily increasing over the past 30 years.
In the past, the Missouri Canada goose harvest was driven primarily by the availability of northern nesting migrant populations. Currently, giant Canada geese account for about three-fourths of the total goose harvest.
The recovery of the giant Canada goose has been so successful that many now view the birds as a nuisance. This is especially true in urban areas, where geese are blamed for creating airport and traffic hazards, digging into corporate and residential lawns, and damaging pond banks and stream banks. Where they are numerous, geese leave excessive droppings that foul areas and contribute to water pollution. During their nesting season, geese may also attack people.
Over the last eight years, the Conservation Department has implemented an integrated approach to managing Canada geese in Missouri. This effort began in 1996 when we formed an Urban Goose Task Force. The mission of this group is to organize a communication and coordination system for urban goose issues, to identify alternative measures for controlling urban goose flocks, and then to recommend a process for implementing the program. At the same time, the group wants to maintain the public's appreciation for native wildlife.
In addition to making general recommendations, the Urban Goose Task Force also provides detailed outlines on how to promote public awareness of urban goose issues and how to involve citizens in resolving urban goose issues. The group also established a protocol for responding to goose problems in urban Missouri.
In 1998, the Nuisance Urban Goose Implementation Team (NUGIT) was formed to implement the recommendations of the task force. Because hunting is usually not allowed in urban areas where geese often overpopulate, NUGIT requested authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to streamline the permitting process for Missouri residents to use egg oiling and roundup and removal to control giant Canada geese numbers. The state received this authorization in the summer of 2000.
Before exercising the authority provided