(Photo by Jennifer Hauck/Valley News)
An early-morning shoot was set for September 3 at the Vermont club’s Lakeland course. Members of the club and surrounding landowners association were informed that the culling could continue through the end of Vermont’s goose-hunting season on September 25, if many more than 30 of the resident gaggle survived and resumed their occupation of the course’s man-made waterways and adjoining river.
A team of licensed hunters was set to start shooting as many Canada geese as they could round up early on the morning of September 3 at The Quechee Club’s Lakeland golf course in Quechee, Vt., the Valley News of Lebanon, N.H. reported.
Members of the club and the Quechee Lakes Landowners Association were informed that the culling could continue through the end of Vermont’s goose-hunting season on September 25, the Valley News reported, if many more than 30 of the resident gaggle survived and resumed their occupation of the golf course’s man-made waterways and the Ottauquechee River.
“This is a legal hunting operation, which we are sponsoring to cull the resident population before the migratory birds start arriving in early October,” Ken Lallier, The Quechee Club’s Property Manager, wrote in the August 30 to September 5 edition of the club’s Q-Notes newsletter, the Valley News reported.
“Left unmanaged, these resident birds will increase in number and become a nuisance and a health hazard with their droppings on the courses and Lake Pinneo beach,” Lallier continued. “The resident birds are the ones that will return next season to fledge their young, and that is why it is extremely important to maintain some control over the resident flock numbers.”
It wasn’t clear whether hunters traditionally cull the geese as part of the club’s annual roundup, or whether birds previously were trapped and relocated, the Valley News reported, and the newspaper’s efforts to reach Lallier and other club officials for comment were unsuccessful.
Such hunts have happened elsewhere in the United States, the Valley News reported. Over a little more than a week in early July, federal wildlife authorities rounded up and shot more than 1,600 geese in the city parks of Denver, culling more than a third of the resident geese and donating the cleaned carcasses to nonprofits to cook for families in need.
While the hunt in Colorado prompted protests from wildlife advocates, The Denver Post editorialized in favor of the killings, the Valley News reported.
“I understand that some people do see it as a resource for culling populations; it can be an effective population-control method,” wildlife keeper Grae O’Toole of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, who said he hadn’t yet heard of the planned hunt at The Quechee Club, told the Valley News. “It can be an effective population-control method.”
The web site wildlifehelp.org notes that eliminating geese is no easy feat, the Valley News reported.
“There is no ‘silver bullet’ for the long-term removal of nuisance geese,” the website says. “Each situation is different and requires different strategies.”
Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources does offer landscaping pointers to discourage geese from settling in, the Valley News reported.
“Geese are attracted to lawns mowed short, but are not as attracted to taller grasses or other vegetation,” the department says on its website. “For example, an unmowed, 6-foot-wide shoreline buffer of tall native grasses or a hedgerow 20 to 30 inches tall can discourage geese from visiting.”
The Valley News reported that Maureen Bacon, a longtime Quechee Lakes Landowner and golfer at the club, sent an e-mail protesting the planned hunt and encouraging the club to “look into other alternatives to keeping the geese off the course, like other golf courses have done with border collies.”
Bacon told the Valley News that she was hoping that enough landowners and club members would speak up soon enough to prompt the club and the landowners’ association to rethink the planned September 3 hunt. “It seems like a drastic measure to take,” she said.