Duck Duck Goose

My good friend Ray, from South Carolina, brought two separate articles to my attention that speak to a similar issue. I found a third that may shed light on the problem.

“Oregon deals with one of worst wild goose problems in nation”: is the title of the first article and it starts like this:

_A new task force is looking for ways to control Oregon’s wild goose problem, which officials say costs millions of dollars a year and is among the worst in the nation._

_The panel was created by state Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, who wants to draft a bill for the 2011 legislative session to provide wildlife managers with some additional tools to deal with the more than 250,000 geese that migrate to Oregon each winter. The birds damage crops by crushing, feeding on and defecating on them._

As is often the case, there is an underlying barrier to proper goose management in the state.

_Among issues inhibiting goose control in Oregon are limited hunting options. Geese are protected under state, federal and international law._

“Almanac: South Dakota study tells waterfowl tale”: is the title of the second article and it starts like this:

_A new survey of South Dakota waterfowl hunters might help explain why duck hunter numbers are falling not only in South Dakota but in Minnesota, too._

As is always the case, there are a number of reasons that sportsmen reduce their hunting participation or change their priorities.

_Half of those surveyed reported a decrease in the number of days they hunted ducks. The reasons: work and family obligations; it’s hard to find good places to hunt; or they’re more interested in hunting other game. Only about 10 percent said low duck numbers were a reason._

Despite the gloom and doom we’ve been fed by the mainstream media over the last decade, waterfowl numbers are in good shape and – as the Oregon story represents – often too good.

This brings me to story number three.

“Hunting License Sales Increase in 2009″: is the title and it starts like this:

_It is the first good news wildlife managers have seen in a long time. It appears that for the first time in two decades, hunting license sales across the country may have actually increased in 2009._

_According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting license sales rose by 3.5 percent in 2009. That’s according to a special survey by NSSF of 12 “index states.”_

At first it appeared strange to many folks that license sales would increase while the country is undergoing such economic turmoil. But the *Thinking Man* knows better.

“_Many factors such as weather and the economy affect hunting license sales in any given year, but in 2009 the economy likely had a more significant effect,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. “While the reasons for the 3.5 percent increase are speculative, past research shows that during slowdowns in the nation’s economy it is possible that people have more time to hunt and that hunters take the opportunity to fill their freezers with nutritious, high-protein meat acquired at lower cost than if a similar amount was purchased at the supermarket.”_

In my not-so-humble opinion, South Dakota, Oregon and other states with similar issues may find answers to their management questions in this recent report.

How do you address wildlife population overloads and increase hunter participation?

1. Reduce regulations,
2. Reduce fees,
3. Open public lands to more hunting opportunities,
4. And get the heck out of the way!

The folks in Oregon are taking the typical government approach. Create another panel, committee, stakeholder gathering in hopes of “finding solutions”.

_Wildlife managers also haze geese, destroy eggs of resident geese and try to move geese to federal wildlife preserves in efforts to minimize crop damage._

“_All options are on the table,” Johnson said. “I hope we can come out with real solutions.”_

I have news for them. You may can the committee, the real solution isn’t rocket science…

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.

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