Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

A new machine to fight park geese

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Greg Peck
Friday, April 26, 2013

George Hesselberg of the Wisconsin State Journal waxed poetically Tuesday about a new weapon in the urban war on park geese. The Canada goose, he wrote, is “the bane of every open space in Madison, the deliverer of slip to soccer fields, the hogging, honking despoiler of lake-edge picnic grounds, and the biggest flying poop machine in local airspace.”

The same could be said about Janesville. Madison, however, is employing a new weapon in the urban war on geese and their poop that ruins so many marks. It’s called the GoosInator. Hesselberg observed as Russ Hefty tried out this $2,800 propeller-powered machine in Vilas Park last week and reported that Hefty seemed pleased with the result.

Janesville has tried lots of ways to keep geese out of parks. In 2002, the city even approved a plan for hunters to take aim at geese. Animal-rights advocates quickly shot down the idea. The city has tried noise-makers and letting dogs chase the birds. It banned feeding the birds in parks and resorted to addling eggs in goose nests so the eggs don’t hatch. Recently, Ray Ehle, a local veteran who says goose poop around the Traxler Park war memorials disgusts him, got permission to build and erect wooden coyotes that are supposed to frighten the geese. It remains to be seen whether these are working; after all, most of Traxler is under water. The Gazette did, however, hear a scanner report the other day of a Traxler fisherman fending off a flock of honkers with his fishing pole while trying to reach his car.

If the wooden coyotes don’t work, maybe the city will likewise invest in a GoosInator. I caught wind of this machine in February when a salesman contacted me. He told me the inventor worked off the concept of a radio-controlled aircraft to create this machine. It does not fly. Research determined that bright orange frightens geese and gulls, so the machine is painted that color with big teeth and eyes. It rolls across sod and sand and zips over the water’s surface. Operators find it easy and simple to use and effective, the salesman told me (why wouldn’t he?). Anyway, he said Denver recently bought two to reduce its major goose-pooping problem, and that Madison had ordered one, as well.

Should Janesville be next?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 9:19 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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