Pictured, Casey Kulsrud with a pair of birds
The group after the weekend hunt. Note the single goose being held up, center. It was a banded specimanfrom Winnipeg, four years old. The bird was banded to track its movement, their age, and where it was harested.
About 45 goose decoys, scattered across a Pelican Township corn field, caught the eye off motorists last week. A group of hunters talk strategy on the barren, windswept landscape. A party of about a dozen area hunters have been harvesting geese by the dozen, controlling the population explosion of geese on nearby Prairie Lake.

Pelican area hunting party’s strategy a sure-fire means of controlling local over-population 

 By Louis Hoglund

With firearm deer hunting season passed, an outdoorsman’s thoughts go to…to the birds. 

A sprawling array of decoys, about 540 in total, were assembled on the north end of Pelican Township, last week, at the junction of County 9 and 23.

A hunting party of about a dozen  were on a mission. Casey Kulsrud, unofficial spokesman for the crew, said their strategy took shape after they put their deer rifles away for the season.  

A massive flock of geese, on the open waters of nearby Prairie Lake, have been feeding daily in a post-harvest field of corn. The hunters set up blinds near the decoys and wait for the late afternoon flight, said Kulsrud. Each of the hunters anticipated the daily limit of three, he noted. 

By Sunday, Nov. 24, Kulsrud predicted a harvest of 100 geese.  

More than a few property owners are no doubt thankful to the hunting party, for helping control the goose over-population. Truth is, excessive numbers of geese have become less a “natural wonder” than a flat-out nuisance, around these parts. 

Most people enjoy seeing Canada geese. The big birds often wear out their welcome, however, when they become too numerous and yards, beaches, and docks are fouled with their feces, notes the Minnesota DNR on the agency’s website.

Canada geese are extremely prolific. Able to reproduce at 2 or 3 years of age and living to over 10 years, a pair of adult geese raises an average of about 4 young per year. At normal reproduction and mortality, a pond or lake with 3 pairs of adult geese can multiply to nearly 50 birds within 5 years and to over 300 in just 10 years.

Canada goose populations have dramatically increased in residential and lake home areas because:

• habitat is abundant

• geese have a high reproductive potential and a long life span

• mortality from hunting and other predation is low

Geese live in a particular area that meets their needs for food, reproduction and security. Together these factors provide goose habitat. Geese are grazers that feed primarily on short grasses such as those found in parks, lawns and golf courses. They need feeding sites with open vistas and access to lakes and marshes to escape danger. Golf courses, parks and large lawns next to ponds, marshes and lakes often provide all of these ingredients. Docks, yards and beaches provide secure “loafing” sites for preening and sunning, states the DNR.

What will Kulsrud and his team do with all those birds? 

Goose jerky, goose patties–and Kulsrud’s favorite: shredded goose.