Using lethal means to eliminate problem geese in Massachusetts | Canada goose

Using lethal means to eliminate problem geese

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Regulated hunting

Regulated hunting is an extremely effective method for reducing goose numbers and keeping remaining birds from using an area. Hunting has resulted in a decline in goose numbers and problems in those areas where hunters have access to the birds. In rural areas, there has been a significant impact on resident (non-migratory) geese. In urban settings, however, the utility of hunting is limited, thus other means of reducing adult survival are necessary.  Many golf courses allow hunting and, where feasible, hunting should be considered.

Federal Depredation Permits

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits allowing for the lethal removal of Canada geese (typically 1-2 per day), in conjunction with active non-lethal methods, to qualified applicants. This effort functions to serve serves as a negative reinforcement to ongoing hazing activities.

Legal, Regulated Hunting in Massachusetts

Legal, Regulated Hunting in Massachusetts

The use of legal, regulated, hunting by licensed hunters can be useful for reducing local wildlife populations and can help reduce nuisance problems in Massachusetts. You can allow hunters on to your property, provide a place for them to park to access nearby forest, and/or give them permission to hunt within 500 feet of your residence. Please also keep in mind that each town may have additional by-laws that restrict hunting and the discharge of firearms.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Federal regulations

Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to federal regulations.

Migratory birds may seek respite within trees or on buildings considered private property. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits the removal of all listed species or their parts (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.) from such property.

Federal depredation permit

For needs outside of the regulated hunting season and any other state-specific goose control programs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues goose depredation permits to qualifying individuals and municipalities. These permits allow for the removal of geese, typically 1-2 per day, but must be done in conjunction with active non-lethal methods. Please see Federal Migratory Bird Depredation Permit for information and the permit form.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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