I had no clue that geese were actually a problem, or that people wanted to get rid of geese. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew that when people started slipping and falling on goose droppings at our city’s water front we had a problem with geese. But how to get rid of geese? And is it easy? “The thing that you have to remember” Tom Starling of Bird-X, “is that birds get used to anything that doesn’t change very frequently. Geese have been known to nest on firing ranges for the Navy. People use stuff like noise cannons and expect that to scare them off. So, that’s just a general principle to keep in mind.” We’ve kept that in mind and have provided some home remedy solutions for a goose problem that you may want to try individually, but are best used together as an integrative approach to getting rid of geese community-wide.
The key to effective goose control is to repel the geese before the local population gets too large, or to make your property as unattractive to geese as possible. The goose control strategies outlined and described below are typical non-lethal methods for getting rid of geese, proffered by wildlife management experts.
Laws Protect Geese
It’s important that you know the laws regarding status of geese in your state. Federal law (The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act) protects Canadian geese, mostly because migratory geese populations are in decline; however, laws protecting wildlife change from state to state. Punishment for killing or harassing geese without a proper permit can be pretty serious, so it might be a good idea to get in contact with your local conservation officer to get a better understanding of what’s legal and what’s not. For example, it’s illegal to disturb almost any species of waterfowl during their nesting season, no matter what.
Best Methods of Canadian Goose Control & Deterrents
Stop Feeding Geese
If you want to get rid of geese, you have to stop feeding the local population. This is true in parks, public places, and sometimes private property. Whether it’s private or public land, signs may need to be constructed alerting people to the dangers of feeding wildlife. Not only is human food not good for a goose’s diet, but those geese who become used to handouts and become domesticated will actually attract more wild or migrating geese to the same area—much the same way duck decoys work for hunters.
Set Up Decoys
Speaking of decoys: setting up a family of swan decoys might help get rid of geese still looking for nesting grounds. Like geese, Mute Swans will defend their young quite aggressively, and this is a danger most incoming geese will try to avoid. There’s no reason why you should have to keep swan decoys in your lawn, ponds, or near your lakeshore property all of the time. They will eventually become an eye sore. Put these out if and when you know the migratory season for geese has begun. Here’s a hint: there’ll be honking in the clouds.
Plant Tall Grasses
Making your pond or water front property less attractive with tall grasses will help get rid of geese. It has been suggested that allowing the tall grasses around a pond or lake to grow at least 18 inches high in a band roughly ten feet wide around a shorelines will help make your property less attractive to geese. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that geese like to be kept abreast of the activities of nearby animals, particularly predators. They will be less likely to make your property into a nesting ground if they don’t have an adequate visual field to ensure their safety.
Restrict Access to Water
Restricting easy access to the water will ensure that geese stay away from your beaches and ponds. There are several ways to accomplish this. One way is to build a dock that lines the water’s edge, of sufficient height that geese cannot easily climb up onto it. Perhaps an easier method is to set up bird netting or a bird fence near the water’s edge to prevent easy access to and from the water. If you’ve ever chased geese, you’ll know their first instinct is to go for water. If they don’t feel they can do that very easily, they will find another area to build their nest.
Use Goose Chase
Goose Chase, distributed by Bird-X, is a turf and lawn treatment specifically designed to get rid of geese. The spray itself contains an ingredient called Methyl anthanilate, and according to Tom Starling of Bird-X, it’s a “food-grade substance that’s been used as flavoring in foods for years and is biodegradable.” He also assures me that any Methyl anthanilate “would be well broken down by the time it got through the lawn to any sort of water source, but even if it did there’s no way it is going to hurt you.” Good things to hear from a man who’s company has be recognized as the people to go to for over 40 years.
More Goose Control Ideas
Gator Guard, another product made by Bird-X, is a clever decoy with mirrored eyes that trick the geese into thinking they’re being watched. The reason Gator Guard seems to work so well is because unlike regular decoys or stationary silhouettes, Gator Guard decoys move around the water with the wind and the waves, making them seem like more of a real threat. You can get Gator Guard decoys at Amazon.
Goose Buster, yet another product made by Bird-X, is audible alarm system designed to cover large amounts of land like golf courses, parks, and other recreational areas. Goose Buster amplifies the alarm call of Canadian Geese to scare them, or at least make them nervous enough to make the immediate area an uncomfortable place to be. Two units will supposedly provide an audible deterrence for up to 21 acres, which explains the price of the product.
Mylar tape has been suggested as a great visual deterrence that may be added to fencing or tied to posts that have been set up near traditional goose nesting sites. The Mylar tape not only provides the kind of reflective properties that birds seem to hate, but it also makes a bit of noise when it starts to blow around in the wind. Moving the posts every couple of weeks in a while will help to keep the geese from getting used to the presence of these reflective strips. It’s also one of the least expensive options, and Amazon has quite a few good options for Mylar tape.
Edgewater fencing is a more convenient way to keep geese away from the water’s edge. While it’s not a fool-proof plan, geese do prefer property with easy access to the shoreline. Using Edgewater Fences may help you get rid of geese.
Hunting Canadian Geese
This is the goose control method not preferred by most wildlife management officials.
Perhaps one of the most efficient ways to get rid of geese is to hunt them. So long as there is sufficient evidence that the local goose population is higher than normal, county, city, and state officials should consider posting additional goose hunting seasons to remedy the problem. This is the case with Pennsylvania, where special goose hunting seasons have been set during those times when the migratory population of Canadian geese is elsewhere for the season. Surely, this isn’t the most humane solution to a goose problem, but it is the tastiest.
If problems are being caused by the migratory geese population, then it might be wise to consult your local conservation officer and talk to them about procuring a special permit to kill geese on your property. Acquiring these sorts of permits are difficult if you cannot prove that the damage being done to your property is causing you sufficient distress to warrant such a measure.