Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Resident goose banding expands

Associate Editor

Grand Rapids, Minn. For a number of years, state DNR officials
placed bands on resident giant Canada geese in an effort to track
their travels.

Now that these geese have landed in the “overpopulation”
category by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (there’s currently a
USFWS proposal to allow states greater flexibility in controlling
resident populations), that agency has encouraged states Minnesota
among them to expand their monitoring programs.

“The impetus for the program came from the flyway level,” said
Steve Maxson, DNR goose specialist located in Grand Rapids. “All
(Mississippi) flyway states were encouraged to increase the banding
of Canada geese.”

For Minnesota, that means a goal of 500 geese banded annually in
each of 11 “blocks” across the state. Maxson said the increased
banding will continue for at least five years, possibly longer if
funding allows. This year, about seven blocks banded geese. He
expects next year all 11 will take part.

Banding of resident Canada geese will include the metro area
next year. Bryan Lueth, of DNR Wildlife, said notification of the
expansion came too late this year. Typically, geese are banded
while they’re “flightless” in June, though this year banding
occurred in July due to a late hatch.

Though University of Minnesota crews do some of the banding
using the same equipment and techniques used to transplant geese in
the metro area most of the banding work is done by DNR officials
with the aid of USFWS workers.

Part of this year’s expanded banding included southeastern
Minnesota, Maxson said. The expanded banding, here and elsewhere,
will be done for a number of reasons.

“It gives us a handle on where geese are harvested, not just in
Minnesota, but in the entire flyway,” he said. “It will tell us
where they go in the fall and winter.

“We’ll get figures showing the harvest in Minnesota, what
proportion are residents and migrants, and where (Minnesota-raised)
geese are harvested.”

The band includes various information, including an 800 number
hunters are asked to call to report the harvest of a banded Canada
goose.

There currently are about 1 million resident Canada geese in the
Mississippi Flyway. In Minnesota, officials estimate more than
300,000 resident birds, with a population goal of less than
200,000. September hunts have occurred for the past few years in an
effort to slow the growth of the population. The recent federal
proposal could open up goose hunting as early as August. Too many
geese are blamed for a number of things from crop depredation to
safety concerns at airports.

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