One excellent source of information is “Nuisance Canada Goose Control,” written by Joseph C. Fuller and illustrated by David Williams. It is available online at: www.ncwildlife.org/Nuisance_Wildlife/Nuisance_Canada_Goose_control.htm or via mail at: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, 1722 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1722 or call 919-707-0050. This publication gives a good overview of techniques that can be successful for controlling goose populations. Most importantly, don’t do ANYTHING to encourage the geese. DO NOT FEED THE GEESE or none of the techniques will work. You must be persistent and usually it is best to try several control techniques at the same time.
Protected migratory geese are not the problem. All native waterfowl and other migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as well as other state and federal laws. “It is unlawful to hunt, kill, sell, purchase, or possess migratory birds, except as permitted by regulations adopted on an annual basis by the Secretary of the Interior”. However, harassment of geese to disperse them at problem areas is permissible. In addition to closed hunting seasons in North Carolina for migratory populations, resident geese can be hunted throughout much of the state during a special season in September, before migratory birds arrive. Hunting, however, is not an option in residential communities designated “bird sanctuaries” where it is illegal to discharge firearms or where safety is an issue. A federal migratory bird stamp, appropriate state stamps, licenses and steel shot are required to hunt Canada geese.
Noise devices, including gas powered cannons and exploding gun shells are frequently used to scare and disperse the geese. Police and neighbors should certainly be notified when using these devices is anticipated. The devices can also be dangerous and must be used properly by someone qualified and knowledgeable. Be sure to inquire about possible local ordinances related to devices creating loud noises.
Preventing goose eggs from hatching is an excellent method for preventing population growth. The eggs can be shaken vigorously (called “addling”) or sprayed with mineral oil killing the developing embryos. Do not simply remove the eggs or the female is likely to lay more eggs. Geese will defend their nests aggressively. A second helper protecting you by opening an umbrella keeping the goose away is advisable. A permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is required for egg addling and spraying. Contac the USDA-ADC at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ADC Wildlife Services, 6213-E Angus Drive, Raleigh, NC 27613; telephone: 919-786-4480 for information on obtaining permits or other questions regarding egg addling.
Most harassment techniques do not require permits. Some examples include trained dogs that chase geese on land and in the lake, flashing lights, artificial predator devices, etc. You also do not need permits to utilize exclusion techniques or habitat modifications techniques. These include fences, heavy overhead monofilament fishing lines, reflective mylar ribbons and allowing tall grass to grow along the shoreline.
Several chemical repellants may be effective. They do not harm the geese but make the grass taste bad. Two brand names are Rejexlt (www.rejexit.com) and Flight Control PLUS (www.flightcontrol.com) . No permits are required to apply or utilize the products. Multiple applications are generally required and it is important to apply the products correctly.
Problems with nuisance geese probably won’t improve unless action is taken. We suggest you develop a strategy that includes; no feeding, obtain a permit and spray the eggs with mineral oil, pester the geese with several methods, be persistent and don’t give up. You may have to adopt different techniques from time to time so the geese don’t get accustomed to what you are doing. Irritate them so much they choose to go somewhere else.