"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes



Goose Egg Destruction Plan Is Senseless
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

Don’t look now, DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the tip of your wildlife management iceberg is showing.

The new plan for managing the country’s Canada goose flock makes about as much sense as the proverbial barrel of monkeys, and shows even less knowledge of what civilized societies the world around call “reverence for life.”

As you probably know by now (however joyful it may be), the Fish and Wildlife Service is in cahoots with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to actually encourage those who are troubled by the mess geese make--and the many who aren’t--to wreck the eggs of Canada geese when they are being naturally incubated.

No permit is necessary to so do, as in the past, which (incidentally) was about as successful as growing grass in dense shade. If you don’t like a goose--or fuzzy, little yellowish goslings--abort their eggs before they hatch. We’ll get those rascals, won’t we.

The new, half-baked management plan of the two erudite wildlife management organizations seems to say: “Look, guys and gals--our old management plan (that required a permit to wreck the eggs and nest--usually four to 10 eggs) was a bust. We’re gonna give every mother’s son (daughters, too) carte blanche authority to assume the roles of judge and jury of Canada geese and nests thereof. As an afterthought, why don’t you just do our job, but we get credit for any success that might come of it (our plan).” 

When I think of such a slipshod operation, an old Burma Shave message jumps into my mind: “He was right, dead right . . . As he sped along . . . But he’s just as dead . . .  As if  he’d been wrong.”

I also recall that the late Albert Schweitzer, African missionary and a man of vision, in his book, Out Of My Life And Thought (don’t ask me what page), said, in effect, that a farmer is justified in mowing down wildflowers all day, as he makes hay. But if he lowers his sickle bar to lop off the head of a daisy on the way home, he lacks reverence for life.

Point 1--The Canada goose did not ask to be brought here as adults, have their wings “pinned” so they couldn’t fly freely, and to establish the “resident flocks” that management hates with a passion. The first Canada goose eggs were brought here by employees of the (then) Division of Fish and Game. Then the Indiana Wildlife Federation, to further the program, took, over with its “goose for you, too” program that prospered. We (everybody) thought it was great. Biologists of the DFW say we may have as many as 200,000 resident geese now.

Point 2--Destroying the nests of geese--or any other bird or animal--is nothing more than a stroke against the reproductive characteristics of the bird we wanted so much as a quarry for hunters. Did we bring the Canada goose here because we were concerned about the welfare of the species? Did we want to give these poor critters a place to live. Did we believe the species needed a place to live? Not on your tintype. We wanted them here to hunt.

The Solution: Manage wildlife. Don’t sit behind a desk and ponder what is best for man. We have geese now. We want fewer of them. The way to make the species less prolific is to kill the goose--and use it--before it lays eggs. If hunting pressure is not controlling the species, put on more pressure for people who will use the birds as food. If hunting pressure does not do the job, legalize market hunting until the problem is solved. Market hunting has proven with several species in the court of trial and error that it will do the dirty work. Take, for examples, the cases of the passenger pigeon, here in Indiana. There are others. At, say a buck per pound, goose meat could be a hot commodity, it would seem 

The difference in killing more geese and eating what you kill, and your week-kneed egg destruction fiasco is that my plan offers food; the opportunity to consume the critter killed; your plan offers “wanton waste” at its level best which you abhor so violently.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page