LEWISTON - To reduce conflicts with the ever-increasing resident Canada goose population, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently concluded three managed goose hunts within the city limits of Lewiston and Clarkston.
In response to community concerns of air flight safety, water quality and sanitation of popular recreational areas in the valley, an Urban Goose Task Force was formed to evaluate the growing goose problem.
Comprised of various state and federal agencies, local counties, ports, airport and golf course personnel, the group evaluated several goose population control methods previously used that included trapping and transplanting, hazing, use of repellents and nest structure removal. Because of the limited success of these methods and the significant expense and labor demands required, the group elected to use closely managed hunts using qualified hunters in small groups.
Eight sites normally closed to waterfowl hunting, were open temporarily for the three, half-day hunts. Approximately 24 adult hunter groups participated in the hunts. Idaho Fish and Game also introduced 12 youth to waterfowl hunting, with each young hunter harvesting a goose during an extra youth-only hunt. Personnel from the three agencies supervised each group and used boats to patrol river and retrieve injured birds.
The hunts were very successful in dispersing and harvesting geese that congregated in several problem areas. Of the estimated 3,500 geese that winter in the Lewiston and Clarkston valley, approximately 10 percent of the population was harvested and utilized by the hunters.