People often look up in admiration when they hear honking geese. The familiar V-shaped flight pattern is a common sight and considered a sign of seasons changing.
But for Chestatee Golf Club in Dawsonville, the Canada goose is a nuisance.
While not immediately available for comment, golf course Superintendent Andrew Maronge stated in a recent notice to local residents that several geese living on the course have been eating the grass and leaving droppings, which cause dead spots on the turf.
“In years past we have worked with authorities and tried various methods of harassment in an attempt to get the geese to leave the area, but all have been unsuccessful. As a last resort, we have obtained a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to euthanize the geese by firearm,” Maronge stated in the notice.
Some residents have been angered by the decision.
“It is totally unacceptable. There are eight geese, two of which are goslings who cannot fly, and there are a ton of houses nearby,” said local resident Carroll Polak.
The Canada goose is one of the great successes of wildlife management. Its numbers dipped to near extinction during the early 1900s due to habitat destruction and overhunting. Soon afterward, management and reintroduction programs began, and now Canada geese are found all over the United States, according to the wildlife conservation group Audubon.
Their numbers are so great that in some areas they are pests.
“In the late (19)90s we had a severe problem with geese. They were a nuisance for golfers and maintenance personnel alike,” said Scott Foote, superintendent of the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville.
“We eventually called DNR, who sent someone out to trap and relocate them. They transported between 60 and 70 geese,” he said.
In 2006, the Chattahoochee Golf Club eliminated all water on the course in a renovation. Since then, there hasn’t been a significant problem with geese, Foote said.
While the Canada goose is still a protected species under state and federal law, Georgia allows for the hunting of these birds with a permit during specific seasons. However, geese are very adaptable to urban environments and are among leading complaints to the Georgia DNR.