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These Geese Were Cooked… Literally

Joseph Fearn


About midway through my green career, I spent a year working on a golf course here in Springfield, Mo. While this length of time doesn't warrant me any position of golf management authority, it did give me some appreciation for my brethren in golf, and some empathy for what golf course workers of any capacity might face. I know that there is almost nothing that compares to the intricacy of managing a green. I loved mowing greens, even double cutting in the dark before an early tee time. I did not like pushing bunker sand after a thunderstorm. But what I hated the most was mowing goose poop.


I loved mowing greens, even double cutting in the dark before an early tee time. I did not like pushing bunker sand after a thunderstorm. But what I hated the most was mowing goose poop...


Big Winged Rats

I did a search in the TurfNet Forum and saw that geese can frequently be a problem. They can definitely be a problem for any grounds managers. Before coming to Drury, I managed the grounds at an urban Springfield park. This municipal park was centrally located, presented a pleasing surrounding, and had a water feature that patrons could wade in. All of these amenities were not wasted on several pairs of Canada Geese that nested nearby, but sometimes fed in my park. Apparently well managed Tall Fescue is a delicacy, and since it was organically managed, probably a health food to boot. I couldn't dislocate the geese, but did vent my frustration by chasing them in my Carryall, with my ZTR, and could also be seen running at them screaming. In many grounds situations, geese (nuisance fowl) are no better than vermin.



Nuisance Geese could ruin this setting if allowed to remain.


If You Want To Learn About Geese, Go To a Tree Meeting

As an ISA Certified Arborist, monthly I attend a meeting of the Missouri Community Forestry Council . Normally these meetings go as expected, with discussions about tree planting events and methods, insect & disease updates and continuing education. But at this meeting there was a special guest to discuss a Missouri Department of Conservation grant opportunity. The Southwest Missouri Urban Wildlife Biologist gave info on this program, then somehow the discussion turned to problem geese at a local park. What I heard in this discussion immediately made me think of my troubled memories of geese at golf courses.


MDC Conducts a Goose Roundup

The MDC Biologist told us about a situation in Ozark, Missouri (just south of Springfield). Residents had complained about the goose poop and other nuisance goose aspects, and had employed a variety of approaches to displace or control this flock. None of them were successful. After consultations with stakeholders, a roundup would euthanize the geese and then the processed meat would be sent to an area food pantry for distribution to deserving families. This story provides details and some further information and pictures.


Highly Appropriate Solution to a Difficult Problem

I think this solution is very wise and appropriate. While a round up may not be right in every goose/human conflict, always leaving the birds alone is not right either. Given the amount of evaluation and preparation that had to be performed to carry out this process, many may not pursue a roundup. I do not suggest this is the only, nor best, method. What I do suggest is that sometimes some level of forcible removal is justified and logical. Nuisance geese should be dealt with following an IPM regime. Once a treatment threshold is reached, utilize the most effective and least toxic means to effect control. This method simply provides grounds and course managers another treatment option for dealing with this particular nuisance.  More>>


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