Pennsylvania Run Golf Course in Louisville, Ky., works with a group of hunters to control the geese population, which has caused safety concerns for some residents. Bide-A-Wee Golf Course in Portsmouth, Va., has hired 15 Weimaraners to chase off the geese three days a week.
A group of neighbors near the Pennsylvania Run Golf Course in Louisville, Ky., say for years a group of hunters who are controlling the geese population have made them feel unsafe, the Louisville-based WAVE 3 News reported.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said the group can hunt on the golf course if they have permission from the owner and are being safe. Susie Druyr’s family owns the golf course and said the hunters are helpful to them. They control the geese, which are typically troublesome, WAVE 3 reported.
Todd Young lives next to the golf course and said anything could happen when guns are being fired close to their homes. “It’s the safety of it being literally about a hundred yards from my house,” Young said.
For the last four years, starting on Thanksgiving, Young and neighbors like Matt Brooks have watched groups of hunters come onto the Pennsylvania Run Golf Course and hunt geese and duck, WAVE 3 reported.
“But what they don’t understand is that there are people who live here and we have a life here,” Brooks said.
Various neighbors on the block have contacted the golf course and law enforcement and say it has not stopped, WAVE 3 reported.
Scott Herndon, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said they are aware of the hunters and that it is legal to hunt in the area if it is done in a safe and ethical way, WAVE 3 reported.
“They are running a business and we are just trying to control the population,” said William Peabody, who started the group of hunters.
Peabody said the owners agreed because the geese cause a mess on the golf course and the population can get out of control. Peabody and other hunters have been confronted by the neighbors about stopping the hunt, WAVE 3 reported.
“We have tried to accommodate these people by not hunting in the morning because they are complaining that we are waking them up,” Peabody said.
Peabody said his group of hunters are experienced and do not shoot towards the neighborhood. Neighbors said they moved to the area not expecting to deal with guns being fired near their homes, WAVE 3 reported.
“If you want to hunt, go hunt knock yourself out. But there are appropriate places to do that. This is a residential area,” said resident Rick Metcalf.
Herndon said he can understand the neighbors’ frustration but the hunters are not breaking any laws, WAVE 3 reported.
At Bide-A-Wee Golf Course in Portsmouth, Va., staff have found a different solution to the geese problem with the help of trained dogs, the Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot reported.
Drawn by manicured greens and peaceful ponds, Canada geese descended by the hundreds each day to rest, eat and defecate. They left nests on tee boxes, dead spots on grass and pounds of feces everywhere, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
“There was just too many,” said PGA golf pro Adam Relan. “When you see 200 geese on a green, you just don’t want to play through it.”
Park officials had enough last summer, so they sought help from a local company that could use trained dogs to shoo the pesky guests. But red tape stood in the way. An ordinance banned unleashed animals from roaming the city-owned golf course, and the park had to wait months before the City Council adopted amendments, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
“They’re using this practice all over the East Coast,” said Mark Furlo, the city’s parks and recreation director, noting that other golf courses have gotten rid of their goose problems using dogs. “But working in government, stuff normally takes a little bit longer.”
In October, the council agreed on the changes, and Bide-A-Wee was free to bring in Dan Stallings and his pack of 15 Weimaraners for $3,800. Portsmouth hired Stallings’ Norfolk-based goose-control business for one year, tasking him with Bide-A-Wee, the 9-hole Links at City Park, and Oak Grove Cemetery, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
“When we started off, I counted about 200,” Stallings said during a recent trip with Buck, 4, and Blue, 6. “Now there are hardly no geese at all.”
In fact, the only geese around that day flocked just outside the park’s main entrance, out of reach of Stallings and his rambunctious helpers, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Canada geese, which can weigh up to 15 pounds and discharge a pound of droppings each day, are territorial birds known to chase people who get too close. Weimaraners, Stallings said, make the perfect deterrent because they’re big and brawny, which means they’re scary enough to keep geese away. They’re also harmless. Stallings has trained the rescue dogs to bolt toward packs of geese without actually touching their targets, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
“When you’ve got multiple dogs charging at them like that, they’re not going to challenge them,” Stallings said. “I want the geese to fear being here because they never know when these guys are going to show up.”
They make randomly timed trips to Bide-A-Wee about three days per week, chasing off birds and putting on a show for any that may be flying above. He avoids a schedule so the birds don’t time their visits around the canines, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Effective as the effort has been so far, the team’s skills will be tested this spring, when more birds flock there to mate. Joe Gatling, a golfer assistant at the course, expects the birds will put up a tough fight. A handyman, Gatling has been trying for at least three years to get rid of the geese using dog and wolf decoys, even making some that spin in the wind. He hopes the real thing will finally do the trick, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Gatling said. “They’re pretty smart—and pretty persistent.”
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