|Updated: 11/30/2011 9:45 pm
||Published: 11/30/2011 7:24 pm
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - People opposed to North Little Rock's plan to hunt Canada Geese in Burns Park are using social media to overturn the city council's decision. Aldermen voted Monday to allow a controlled hunt to reduce the geese population December 20th-22nd. The park will be closed from 6:30-9:30am the days of the hunt south of I-40, and police presence will be stationed at the park entrances as well as along the River Trail to make sure everyone is safe.
Opponents of the hunt say there are alternative ways to deal with the geese. More than 200 people have signed a petition and joined the Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park. Scott White runs the Burns Park geese twitter feed. "We need to step back, take a breath, and re-approach looking at some more humane methods to control the population of geese."
Park Ranger Kate Finefield recognizes not everyone agrees with how to reduce the goose population in the park, but says as a biologist, this is the best option. "We have sound reason and scientific evidence, and this is why the city hired me and my staff is to take care of the park."
Desiree Bender is the former State Director of the Humane Society and opposes the hunt. She says she recognizes the goose population is a health hazard for users of the park, but says killing the geese as a radical approach. "It's a quick fix. It won't last. The geese will be back next year, and we'll have a whole new group to deal with. I'm afraid the hunt will turn into a yearly event."
Finefield says coming to this decision to shoot the geese as a method of population control was not easy. "We've tried other methods over the years. We're not looking forward to the hunt, but in the end it will be a benefit. We're here to take care of our citizens and that in turn means taking care if our parks."
Some of the more humane methods opponents of the hunt are suggesting include a dog to chase the geese away, and noise makers to scare the geese. Finefield says they've tried pyrotechnics and shooing the geese away, and it hasn't worked. The geese just come back. There is an egg oiling technique being discussed as a long term humane option to keep the geese from breeding, but if this hunt is successful, future hunts would also be considered.
How to partake in the goose hunt
Participants are chosen from an application process (available at the Parks and Recreation Administration Office and www.nlrpr.org
) and would attend an orientation before being allowed to participate.
Additional requirements include:
- Current valid state and federal migratory bird stamps at the orientation;
- Be registered with The Harvest Information Program;
- Attend one of the two Burns Park Goose Hunt orientations held at the North Little Rock Community Center. After completing the orientation each hunter will be given a Burns Park Hunting Permit (their “golden ticket”), which will allow them into the closed area of the park on their assigned hunting day. Orientations are on Dec 13th at 6:30pm and Dec 15th at 6:30pm
- Present all permits and licenses, and a state issued photo ID to enter the hunt area on their assigned hunting day.
- At least half of the goose meat