IGH offers hunters a better shot at geese

They hiss at you when you try to reclaim your lawn, they make a mess of your driveway and they have a bad reputation for terrorizing kids and pets.

But hunters in Inver Grove Heights say the seemingly omnipresent Canada geese have a way of making themselves scarce come hunting season, and the city’s restrictive hunting schedule during peak goose migration doesn’t help matters.

Testimony from several hunters at the city council’s Aug. 26 meeting led the council to expand the city’s Canada goose hunting schedule to include all weekends during Minnesota’s waterfowl season, which runs Sept. 21 through Dec. 21.

The council has allowed hunting of Canada geese in designated areas within city limits in an effort to decrease the regional population of the birds. Last year, the council allowed residents who obtained a special permit from the police department to hunt every day during the early Canada goose season, and one weekend a month for October, November and December.

However, at the Aug. 21 meeting where the council considered reinstating the Canada goose hunting for the upcoming season, several hunters chimed in to say the current schedule was too tight for them to significantly reduce the number of geese in the city.

More time, more impact

Larry Josephs, a West St. Paul resident who spoke on behalf of the hunters, told the council that unusually warm weather the past two hunting seasons had disrupted goose activity. With those poor hunting conditions, Josephs said only two days per month to legally shoot at geese made for too small a window to accomplish much.

“They’re (the hunters) too restricted to make an impact,” Josephs said.

Josephs and his fellow hunters suggested the council allow hunting daily throughout waterfowl season to maximize their take.

Mayor George Tourville demurred, however, noting that Inver Grove Heights was still a populous suburb, despite its rural aspects.

“This isn’t the same as being out of the metro area,” Tourville said. “There are some people who may go, ‘Wait a second, we’re hearing shooting every single day, we’re hearing shooting from sunup to sundown.”

Instead, Tourville suggested the council allow hunting two weekends per month during hunting season. Tourville was quickly one-upped by Council member Dennis Madden, who proposed hunting for every weekend.

“We’re increasing it by one weekend a month and we still have a lot of geese flying around and making a mess,” Madden said. “I’d like to see it every weekend during that time.”

Shortly before the council’s unanimous vote, Council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech drew a tongue-in-cheek comparison to the council’s other high-profile animal votes in 2013.

“Deer, geese, chicken -- we’ll take ‘em all,” Piekarski Krech said.

The early Canada goose hunting season begins Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 20, with the waterfowl season opener following the next day. Police Chief Larry Stanger told the council at the meeting his department would hold an informational meeting for prospective hunters and residents to address the changes in the next few weeks.

— Luke Reiter can be reached at lreiter@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.


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