Posted on 24 January 2013 by Keith Lacey
Town of Osoyoos council is seriously thinking about getting rid of the town bylaw which allows people to hunt Canada Geese, saying it hasn’t had any substantial impact on the thousands of geese that are causing numerous problems in and around town.
Council discussed the issue after a letter written by a local citizen relating to allowing geese to be hunted within town borders.
“Myself and some other locals find it disconcerting and inhumane,” said Ryan Johnson in a letter submitted to town council in late December. “It’s disconcerting because hunting in the valley, especially shooting birds overhead, could be dangerous to people, animals and property in the surrounding area. It’s inhumane because geese mate for life.
“Please investigate this and ban any shooting of geese or killing of animals in general as much as possible.”
Coun. C. J. Rhodes said he could no longer support allowing geese to be hunted within town limits considering the minimal effect it has had on the goose population.
“I’m just wondering about the value of the hunt,” he said. “We still have a serious goose problem in our community. There’s no doubt about that.
“I don’t see any benefit in allowing hunting within town boundaries. It has done absolutely nothing to address the problem. “We’ve allowed it because it’s seen as a sport, but it has done nothing to address the problems it has caused in our community.”
Rhodes said the average Canada goose produces three-quarters of a pound of feces every single day and this has led to serious pollution problems on town property and in and around Osoyoos Lake.
Coun. Mike Plante agreed saying if a few hunters shoot at a few geese, the birds simply fly out of that area into another section of town and cause the same problems there.
This past weekend, Plante said he took his young daughter tobogganing on a local hill and he couldn’t help but notice an adjacent field was filled with a large amount of goose droppings.
Problems with geese are now commonplace in many communities across British Columbia and other parts of the country, but it’s obvious allowing hunting isn’t solving local problems, said Plante.
“I agree it has become a big problem and it needs to be solved,” he said.
Mayor Stu Wells said the amount of geese and the droppings they leave behind have become a health issue.
There were recent reports of a young child in B.C. who accidentally ingested goose droppings and became seriously ill, he said.
“I don’t think shooting them is the answer,” he said. “I don’t think hunting them is working because it doesn’t remove enough of the birds. I don’t think hunting is the proper answer for what we’re trying to do now.”
Wells agreed this has become a serious problem in many communities like Osoyoos.
“It has truly become a North America-wide problem … it’s happening everywhere,” he said.
Geese have proven to be smart as they now congregate far more often in urban settings rather than rural and tend to flock in places like playgrounds, where there are a lot of children nearby, said Ryan.
Romanko said staff will prepare a “goose management plan” to look at some options, including one to eliminating hunting in town and eliminating the current bylaw.
Romanko said he will also provide information relating to other communities that allow a goose cull to get rid of large amounts of the unwanted bird.