Once nearly extinct, the growing Canada goose population can be a nuisance for metro residents and farmers, whose crops are at risk.
Mostad, a lifelong hunter, says shooting some geese seems to be an effective way to protect his crops. “I was able to shoot one with my .22 pistol at 110 yards,’’ he said. “I left it lay, and that did it. The whole works moved across the road into some state land and haven’t been back since.’’
OSAKIS, MINN. – Bob Mostad remembers when the first pair of Canada geese showed up on his farm in the late 1980s — when the goose population had rebounded after nearly going extinct in Minnesota.
“I was so proud,’’ Mostad, 87, recalled last week, looking out over his picturesque landscape of lush crops and wetlands. He has been farming near Osakis in west-central Minnesota for 60 years, and even mowed a strip of pasture near a pond he created to entice the geese to nest there. “I love wildlife, and I longed for the day when we could get them back.’’
That first pair produced five goslings.
“But pretty soon there were two pairs of geese, then a few more, and within five or six years I had a lot of geese,’’ Mostad said. “And they weren’t staying on the pasture, they were going out eating my corn and bean fields. They became a nuisance.’’
Mostad’s story is a microcosm of what has happened in Minnesota since a remnant of the giant Canada goose population was “discovered’’ in Rochester 50 years ago. Encouraged by landscape changes and the trapping and transplanting of geese to new areas, goose numbers exploded statewide, fouling beaches, golf courses and parks with excrement — and destroying acres of crops.
Since 1999, the Department of Natural Resources has issued permits to farmers to shoot problem geese, and helped pay for electric fences to deter geese from crops. The number of permits issued has grown from seven that first year to 234 last year, when landowners shot 1,288 geese. Another 2,000 geese are rounded up in the Twin Cities each summer, euthanized and distributed to food shelves or fed to captive wolves at the Wildlife Science Center near Forest Lake.
Hunters, too, have been urged to kill more geese. Bag limits and seasons have been expanded. Still, last year’s estimated goose population hit 433,000 — a record. So this year, for the first time, Minnesota will hold a special 11-day summer goose hunt Aug. 10-25, with an unprecedented 10-bird daily bag limit and no possession limit.
“This is one more option for us to try and increase our harvest of Canada geese,’’ said Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist. Last year, Minnesota hunters bagged nearly 236,000 honkers — more than any other waterfowl.
Nobody thinks adding the August hunt to the DNR’s menu of harvest strategies will dramatically reduce the goose population or end the clash between geese and humans.
“There’s no concern of taking too many geese anywhere, really,’’ Cordts said. “We’d have to have a massive change in harvest [to significantly reduce the population].”
Mostad, a lifelong hunter, doesn’t want to see geese eradicated from his land. In fact, though he gets permits from the DNR to shoot geese, he rarely kills more than one or two.
“They are a wonderful bird,’’ he said. “They mate for life. I hate to shoot them.’’
Like dozens of other farmers, Mostad has tried innovative methods to keep them away from crops — with minimal success.
“I’ve tried a lot of things. I put out swan decoys; they don’t like swans, and that discouraged them, but they didn’t take long to learn they were fake, and then they ignored them,’’ said Mostad. This spring about 37 adult geese showed up on his 20-acre wetland, so he bought two coyote decoys.
“That worked for a week or 10 days, and then they realized they were fake, too,’’ he said. “It’s amazing, they are so smart.’’
Shooting some seems to work best, Mostad said.
|Univ of Minnesota||1||Top 4th Inning|
|New York||41||3rd Qtr|
|Cleveland||41||2nd Qtr 5:20|
|Utah||26||2nd Qtr 4:59|
|Charlotte||44||2nd Qtr 7:35|
|Denver||7||1st Qtr 8:16|
|Detroit||12||1st Qtr 6:58|
|LA Lakers||11||1st Qtr 7:11|
|Philadelphia||13||1st Qtr 7:34|
|Memphis||11||1st Qtr 7:11|
|Ottawa||1||1st Prd 2:04|
|NY Rangers||0||1st Prd 15:23|
|Maine||32||2nd Half 14:23|
|Duquesne||52||2nd Half 12:12|
|George Washington||37||2nd Half 14:54|
|Tennessee||54||2nd Half 11:14|
|Notre Dame||46||2nd Half 12:30|
|SE Missouri St||46||2nd Half 12:11|
|St Francis-PA||37||2nd Half 14:16|
|Mount St Marys||31|
|Hartford||41||2nd Half 11:24|
|Wagner||42||2nd Half 10:04|
|Long Island||36||2nd Half 13:09|
|La Salle||34||2nd Half 14:08|
|Providence||45||2nd Half 14:26|
|UCF||27||2nd Half 15:19|
|Binghamton||30||2nd Half 13:06|
|UMBC||20||2nd Half 10:17|
|Sacred Heart||45||2nd Half 10:16|
|Wake Forest||5||1st Half 14:02|
|Purdue||5||1st Half 14:20|
|Miami-Florida||10||1st Half 12:44|
|St Bonaventure||10||1st Half 14:11|
|New Mexico St||14||1st Half 13:12|
|Houston||12||1st Half 11:27|
|Howard||6||1st Half 14:32|
|SIU Edwardsville||8:00 PM|
|St Johns||8:00 PM|
|Miss State||8:00 PM|
|Utah State||8:00 PM|
|Air Force||9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9:00 PM|
|Boise State||9:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|San Diego St||10:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||10:59 PM|
|Clemson||49||2nd Half 3:15|
|Davidson||44||2nd Half 8:57|
|Loyola-Maryland||30||2nd Half 11:54|
|Boston U||31||2nd Half 8:50|
|Coll of Charleston||44||2nd Half 14:59|
|Delaware||43||2nd Half 16:30|
|Drexel||40||2nd Half 11:03|
|Hofstra||48||2nd Half 13:21|
|Towson||40||2nd Half 10:34|
|William & Mary||51|
|Miami-Ohio||37||2nd Half 13:05|
|Ball State||56||2nd Half 12:25|
|Buffalo||33||2nd Half 13:43|
|Western Mich||34||2nd Half 15:02|
|Ohio U||45||2nd Half 13:06|
|Youngstown St||52||2nd Half 11:37|
|Illinois-Chicago||31||2nd Half 11:50|
|Alabama||24||1st Half 0:23|
|Detroit||11||1st Half 11:55|
Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?