Twin Lakes to round-up and remove Canada geese

/Photo by John Romkey
under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

A roundup and removal of Canada geese from Twin Lakes was approved by the Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District commissioners Monday.

The action was approved unanimously by the commission, which has the same members as the Village Board. (Note: Village President Howard Skinner excused himself from the meeting before the vote to attend a wake. — DH)

The roundup will be conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The commission set a maximum cost of $4,500, to be paid from lake district funds.

Some Canada geese are only in the area temporarily while migrating, but there also has developed a population that stays in the area year round, or at least as long as food sources are available. It is these resident geese that become a nuisance due to sanitary concerns from droppings and being a road hazard.

The round-up will seek to remove resident geese from Lakes Mary and Elizabeth. The roundup will take place in late June early July when geese molt their wing feathers and cannot fly. They will be rounded up on shore and then humanely euthanized, said David Terrall, USDA. A sample of the birds will be tested and if levels are OK the meat will be donated to food pantries.

Non migrant Canada geese have become an increasing nuisance in recent decades, Terrall said.

“The resident Canada goose population has exploded,” Terrall said.

While there are other “non-lethal” methods used to scare away geese — from coyote decoys to explosives — they tend to get less effective over time, Terrall said. Even increased hunting has had limited effect on resident geese populations, which often appear to learn to avoid areas where they will be exposed to hunters.

A combination of removal and tampering with nests has proved to be the most effective methods long term, Terrall said.

“If you do these for a few years you really should be able to reduce the population that is breeding,” Terrall said.

The village will be contacting property owners along the lakes to let them know about the effort and to secure permission to access their properties for the goose roundup, said village administrator Jennifer Frederick.



  1. Rene Ratchek says:

    DUMBEST IDEA EVER…… AND giving poisonous meat to food pantries? Maybe Mr. Terrall should be the taste tester…. so rounding them up BEFORE the migrating geese even get a chance to THINK about migration? I cannot even begin to fathom this rocket science… please note sarcasm-

    1. A couple of things I may not have made clear. The migrant geese are not in Twin Lakes at the time of year when the roundup will take place. Only so-called resident geese will be here in the summer. Also, a sample of the geese harvested (5 percent or at least five geese) from any given lake are tested before the meat is donated to a food pantry for human consumption.

  2. Jake says:

    This will probably infuriate some of you that haven’t lived in the country nor lived back in the 50’s-60’s.
    This problem with the geese is not rocket science but a lot of common sense and some knowledge about animals.
    When someone would have gone hunting and gotten a goose or two back in the day it was a proud moment and they would show off the geese they had gotten. It wasn’t an easy thing back then to claim a goose.
    The hunting lands were farm fields, corn fields and waterways that had few inhabitants on them. Farmers and landowners were happy to let you use their lands to harvest the geese.
    When people started to move out of the cities into the county there was a “very” slow decline in habitat for wildlife. As it became more fashionable more and more homes and business were being built and the population exploded; not just in Wisconsin, everywhere.
    The climate to some extent has been somewhat mild in the winters and with more holding ponds for runoff water geese, flock to these and started to stay in the areas and once established they started to remain in the counties and not migrate to the South or fly North in the spring; these are what we call the residence geese.
    So, time goes by and more stay around, then there are the people who don’t understand wild birds and such; go out and feed them “bread”! off all the products to feed them is nothing but a health situation for the geese. Along with feeding animals, once you start doing so they keep staying around looking for that free hand out.
    Well now the geese have become a point of nuisance and health hazard within our Wisconsin, to the point of closing public beaches, parks and such. Geese, crap so much, that in places it is just a slime coating. This all goes into the water and makes it just a bad for aquatic animals.
    There have been many ideas of removing them but to no avail, no matter what you do they keep coming back and continue to pollute, impart because of the human issue; the Political Correct and those that are AFRAID to say anything for FEAR of being retaliated upon!
    We “humans” have created this mess and we need to fix it and remove as many of these birds and the local governments need to get out information on why we should and not be so P.C. about eradicating them.
    As far as I’m concerned remove them from the parks, and lakes until there can be a balance. Go around during the winter and remove them from the holding ponds and fine the knuckleheads that feed them.
    A little story to go with this:
    Our family moved out into Bristol, WI there was a pond and occasionally in the spring and fall geese would land and then leave. While away in the Air Force, my father informed me there was a pair of geese that had set-up residence in the pond. They had little ones and all the family thought it was great. Three years later the geese were back and all was NOT GOOD. They brought others and the pond edge where we went to go swimming was full of CRAP. It took some years, but we managed to prevent the geese from coming back.

  3. Diane says:

    And what is Salem lakes going to do ? Such as Silver Lake in particular.

  4. J. Bean says:

    What YOU are NOT understanding….these geese and their generations have
    been living here long before you were born. And now THEIR HOME was sold off
    right underneath them and the NEW INHABITANTS say ” This is my land”…and all must die. Because their BIG crime is pooping in the grass.
    And let’s make sure they can not fly when you kill them…giving them zero chance to leave.
    Did you ever think that perhaps there are TOO MANY people instead of TOO MANY GEESE? You move to the country, but hate the wildlife. Go back to where you came from or learn to share the land with other beings. Better yet, invest in a shovel instead of a needle to end their innocent life. The term is CO-EXISTING.

  5. Jake says:

    If Bean, is making a statement about me, here is my reply:
    First statement not all factual, back in the day there were very few around the T.Lakes. 2. you haven’t done your research on the issue of the geese poop take the time and do so. 3. They won’t leave, for it is inbred (same as Salmon). Thus the more that are born the more come back. 4. I moved in into the county when it wasn’t a fashion statement. 5. You don’t know me and you made a statement that I hate wildlife…far from the truth. 6. I share the land with many different animals and over the years have raised, taken care of and let go many such as geese, rabbits, fox, raccoon, snakes, song birds; I also have taken many years learning, and educating myself. 7. I also was an avid hunter and respected the harvesting of animals I now enjoy photographing the wild life and understand what they can do if not controlled. 8. I agree with Co-existing with animals, but there are times when Man, needs to do some controlling. Take the time to SEE, what is going on, LOOKING, is just a small part.

  6. HEAR HEAR !!! J. Bean says:

    Right on the money!

    Come on people. Let hear from more of you on this issue.

    This also goes to people who buy houses on lakes and streams and rivers and then complain about high taxes and high water.

    When you’re looking to buy a home you’re not just buying the house but you’re buying the neighborhood and community. And if you don’t like what you see or how it has turned out for you then put up a for sale sign. House sales are good now and interest rates are low. You should have no problem going back to where you came from.

  7. GuardDuck says:

    This entire situation is so very sad. It just breaks my heart & soul for these poor precious beautiful innocent creatures who are unable to defend “their rights” & are at the mercy of “politicians”….

  8. What are YOU not understanding? says:

    These are RESIDENT GEESE. (Some call them flying rats. ) I have decided to call them couch birds. They are not travelling to their normal housing areas farther north but decided to reside (year round in some cases) near to the refrigerator! They are lazy. They poop and contaminate their own living rooms and ruin it for other wildlife in and out of the water. They deposit more phosphorous than you are allowed to use on your lawn legally.

    The DNR is partially at fault for this. Increase the hunting EARLIER for these resident animals each year and cull that way. I have seen two sets of parents with 50 goslings between the two of them. That is absurd and artificial. COUCH BIRDS THEY ARE raising generations of more couch birds!

    For those defending POOP and CRAP in the lakes and beaches, I suggest you attend the Conservation Congress, learn a little, voice your concerns where it counts and maybe jump on the band wagon for the Sand hill Cranes rather than CANADIAN Geese who should be travelling thru, not encamping.

    Wondering as I type this, just how long it will take before someone’s shallow well shows signs of bad water!

    Should have let the swans stay. They would have chased away the geese.

  9. Pooky says:

    seriously. what’s next? deer. raccoons. squirrels. opossums. robins. why not keep going and cleanse the landscape so there are no pesky animals and everyone can live in their plastic subdivisions that Twin Lakes is so fond of.

  10. Allison says:

    This is disgusting to do to any animal. WTF is wrong with Twin Lakes thinking this is ok to do? I pray the home owners don’t let anyone on their property! The Geese were here before US. Don’t allow this to be done people.

  11. J. Bean says:


    The first known Canadian Geese were seen in the 1600’s. Most could not see them the land was NOT chopped down into parcels–and subdivisions…but still wild and pristine land and they were hidden from our sight.

    Canada geese are a federally protected animal and killing this bird or destroying its eggs without a legal permit is a punishable offense.

    Canada Geese are incredibly clean birds. They spend a huge amount of time cleaning themselves. They bathe themselves thoroughly by dipping and tumbling in water. They stand along the shore preening themselves for hours on end. They make sure that every feather is clean and oiled; more than I can say for many humans.

    Canada geese are not scavengers and their poop is Biodegradable and can be a great natural fertilizer. Easily broken down by rain and snow and when broken down, provides valuable nutrients for the soil. You know, the same soil that homeowners continue to POISON with RoundUp, Weed-B-Gone, Pesticides, and other chemicals that will NEVER come out of the ground.

    Humans have ripped their homes from them and have built houses, roads, schools, parking lots, golf course, businesses, power lines, concrete bridges, etc. upon their homes. They have had to adjust to US and now THEY MUST DIE?
    We invaded them!

    People complain about their waste….get real and look around! Go to a beach any holiday weekend and see all the trash left by righteous humans. Gas and oil floating on top of the lakes from boats, beer bottles, cans, plastic rings, and even human feces floating in the water and urine from those to lazy to use the restrooms while swimming. This is what has been left for the geese and other wildlife to drink and use. And on the beach in the sand…
    broken glass, cig butts, metal debris, more plastic, soiled diapers, an endless list of crap….MUCH worse than the goose droppings which is biodegradable.

    People complain about the droppings affecting the water table. Another joke. Humans have severely contaminated THEIR WATER, rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds.
    Let’s pour more bleach into that pool and toilet…more poison chemical based fertilizer onto the yard and garden that goes to the ground table or how about all the SALT in your water tank and sudsy detergents for laundry?

    Add in all the landfills with human waste that is contaminating the ground and soil. Yet, another place wildlife used to live on before mankind destroyed it.

    Why are some staying and not flying north?

    1.) The State of WI is chopping down over 450,000 acres –75% of Northern State Forest and selling it off as timber. Goodbye North Woods.
    The Geese have NO HOME in the NORTH TO RETURN TO. Neither will all the other wildlife that once lived there. All soon to be gone or dead.

    Picture it- Hundreds of logging trucks spewing out diesel gas into the air.
    smokey pollution from the gas chain saws, the noise, dust in the air, and where do you think they are emptying all those porta potties? Into the ground or into the lakes? What wildlife would want to live or return there.

    When all those trees and plants are gone… will affect us in SE WI.
    One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people for a whole year. 451,000 acres of woods is being destroyed. Do the math.

    2.) At the turn of the Century, HUNTERS used captured birds as LIVE hunting decoys. When the practice was outlawed in the 1930’s, they let these ‘decoy geese’ go free, but the birds had lost the instinct to migrate.
    Then, these domesticated birds were deliberately relocated to every state for hunters, a practice known as ‘state swapping’.
    Once the geese were almost all killed off…it was in the 1950’s that an ambitious effort was undertaken to reintroduce a “resident: population of geese throughout the United States. The result–some BIG birds now stay in one place.

    WHO DID THIS TO THEM? Now, people don’t like what they started?
    Then, take responsibility and correct the wrong that was done to them.
    Rehabilitate them…communicate…run them off with dogs.

    Where are all the natural predators of the geese? Coyotes, Wolves,
    foxes, raccoons, skunks, eagles, crows, bobcats, bears? Oh right, man
    has killed them…creating this new problem.

    You are correct about one thing. Man needs to take control…but not of the innocent wildlife…but of MAN. Man needs to stop destroying
    and stop blaming others for what HE HAS CAUSED.

    There is NO JUSTIFICATION for the taking their lives.
    Would you kill a dog that pooped on your yard?
    Should all the wildlife that poop in your yard die too?
    Or is it –nothing but DISCRIMINATION against the most innocent and to kill them when they are most vulnerable and have no way to save their own life?
    Turn the table….is this how you would want to be treated for committing no crime?

    If you kill one…the mate will die within a week from a broken heart. ( FACT). And man feels they have more feelings and intelligence than this species.

    If they discovered Goose Poop was worth millions of dollars and it’s high quality Phosphorus and nitrogen had something rare and special in it as a fertilizer…would you change your mind? There are companies researching this very idea.

  12. Nora says:

    Unacceptable! Catering to lakefront home owners. Relocate them IF you must, why kill them? Why not just kill all the wild life then no one will be inconvenienced.

  13. Mark Miller says:

    Absolutely horrific! Once again, money talks and walks all over our beautiful state, our wildlife, our Earth! The other 98% of us have no voice with regard to what is happening in our own backyards! Shame on Twin Lakes!

  14. Rene says:

    J. Bean…. Please RUN FOR OFFICE…. I’m serious!! Bring Sanity and Common Sense back to America!! 😉

  15. L.Mcgovern says:

    I’m with J. Bean. I live on a “lake” which is really more of a large pond and we have many geese (among other animals) who stop by for some grass and to hang out. they do poop a lot but whatever, I’m not going to murder them over it.

  16. Rehana says:

    Hello everyone concerned about this! There will be a meeting for concerned citizens at the Salem Community Library today at 4pm (Tuesday, May 23rd). I’d love to see you there!

  17. Margaret Hannigan says:

    I agree with J Bean, this is really cruel and should be illegal. I cant believe they will kill the babies, why cant they just relocate them. I wish I would have known about the meeting but I just got the letter from the village.

  18. Margaret Hannigan says:

    go on twin lakes facebook and vote no if you are opposed

  19. Gill Walker says:

    This action WILL NOT reduce the number of Canada Geese using the area. All that will happen is other geese will move in to take their place. Canada Geese mate for life and have strong family ponds. It’s not possible for these geese to be ‘humanely euthanized’, this is murder. The article hints at their intelligence when it says they ‘learn to avoid areas where they will be exposed to hunters’.
    And how is it possible to ‘remove resident geese from Lakes Mary and Elizabeth’? How will they differentiate between resident geese and geese passing through, that have stopped for a safe place to moult?
    This attitude shows not only a lack of compassion and understanding of wild creatures, it shows total stupidity. Where is the evidence that these geese and their faeces cause a threat to health? And what IS the percentage of risk compared to other hazards? Get a grip and stop killing sentient creatures.

  20. Jeanette LeVesque, Minneapolis says:

    To the Board of Twin Lakes, WI

    I hope you will reconsider the rounding up of helpless flightless geese. I urge you to show compassion. If you go ahead with this cruel act I’m going to look up your location so that in the future
    I can be sure to avoid your town. I will not visit a place that uses such drastic action to control these creatures of our Creator. I will also send this to my friends.
    as a matter of fact I’m notifying my whole address book of this cruel plan and posting it on Facebook.

    Jeanette LeVesque

  21. Kale Dolfin says:

    This is sick.

    Surely there must be another option, like transporting the geese to some other part of the nation where the geese population is sparse?

    Even allowing hunting would be preferable to this, if they migrate to any nearby area that would allow it.

    But there has to be another way other than extermination of baby chicks. It’s disgusting.

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