Goose ruse not working, at least not yet

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

JANESVILLE—Canada geese are prolific eaters and poopers. That's the problem.

Coyotes are one of their natural enemies. That's the germ of an idea for a possible solution.

Plywood coyote cutouts stationed at two Janesville parks over the past five months appear to have done little to keep the geese off the grass, however.

City Parks Director Tom Presny said the cutouts seem to work for a short time, and then the geese get wise.

The coyotes originally were at Traxler Park, and then some were staked at Monterey Park. Both parks are on the river and are among the geese's favorite local places to forage and defecate, leaving feces on walkways and roads as well as the grass.

The coyotes were made by a local man who heard about similar cutouts that reportedly were keeping geese at bay at a school in Missouri. The man said he would move the cutouts, but that hasn't happened consistently, Presny said.

“I think the experiment, maybe, is inconclusive at this point because we haven't moved the decoys around with frequency,” Presny said.

Presny said the plywood cutouts are deteriorating, but he still wants to give them a chance, if they can be upgraded or replaced with sturdier models so they can be moved easily.

The cutouts are the latest in a long line of anti-goose efforts. Local dog owners were at one time offered permits to run their dogs in the parks during the summer, when dogs are normally banned from most parkland.

Some years ago, the city had a geese-deterrent effort that cost $8,000 a year. It included oiling eggs so geese would not hatch and hiring a company that featured geese-chasing border collies. But that program and its funding are long gone.

In the absence of such funding, Presny welcomes volunteer efforts.

“These decoys are a piece of a system that could be effective if either they are moved more frequently, or maybe in combination with some of these other efforts,” he said.

Anyone with an idea can call Presny at 608-755-3026 or email him at presnyt@ci.janesville.wi.us.

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