It wasn’t too many years ago when harvesting a giant Canada goose was, as Cottonwood barb Howard Mohr would phrase it, “a heckuva deal.”
There was even a time when we believed the giant Canada goose was gone from the Minnesota landscape.
Now the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has opened the state’s first August goose hunt in West Central Minnesota. It will be held August 10 through August 25 as a controlled hunt to trim a population that is considered to be excessive for the landscape. There will be a 10-daily bag limit and no possession limit.
As many in agriculture know, goose depredation problems are an issue in many areas. While the greater numbers of complaints appear to be found in the Fergus Falls and Morris areas, there are issues here too. Cory Netland, wildlife director with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Sibley Park, said the office issues about two dozen depredation permits each year to landowners experiencing problems. The local office also handles lots of other calls about issues with geese. The geese and the mess they leave was a sore spot for many at Saulsbury Park in Spicer earlier this year.
Like most of us, Netland can only guess how many hunters will take advantage of the opportunity to hunt geese in August. The idea of hunting geese on days when the mercury could pop 90 and mosquitoes are buzzing seems odd for sure. On the other hand, the element of surprise will surely belong to hunters and there is the potential for some very exciting times in the field. It’s an opportunity for hunters and it can serve the purpose of bringing the goose population into better balance with the habitat available.
The local wildlife director hopes the hunt will reduce the number of depredation issues his office needs to handle. Their time is better spent improving habitat for wildlife than dealing with depredation problems.