Burns Park proposes goose hunt

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR – Canada Geese are overrunning Burns Park, defecating all over the golf course, and hissing at runners along the River Trail.

The North Little Rock Parks Commission wants a three day hunt in December to help control the goose population. The reduction program will allow up to 100 hunters with permits to bag two geese from 6:30am to 9:30am December 20th through the 22nd. Burns Park will be shut down during the hunt, including the River Trail and the golf course. Hunters will be required to give the first goose to the Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry program. The second goose hunters can keep.

Canada Geese in Burns Park are leaving a pretty big mess and running amuck. Park Ranger Kate Finefield says the geese are a hazard both biologically and physically. “It’s not eradication. We’re not destroying the population. We are just bringing them down to a safe level for everyone involved, both the geese and the people.”

Finefield says the problem is geese feces on the golf course, paths, and trails. “They defecate up to 92 times a day. That’s every 7 minutes. Each goose can defecate a pound to a pound and a half of feces, so if you have 200 geese, that’s about 300 pounds a day.”

Finefield says the goose population is so out of control, the water fowl have no fear of humans. “Let’s say you have your 3 or 4-year-old chasing the geese. If the gander has a flock of goslings to protect, he’s going to attack your child, and could very easily injure your child or your pet if your dog goes after them.”

Golfers and runners say they deal with the geese by minding their own business in Burns Park. Some say the geese pester them every now and again, but others really haven’t had any problems with the geese.

If the hunt is successful, the goose population will be reduced from 200 to around 50. The hunt is tentatively scheduled for December 20th through the 22nd, pending City Council approval. The council votes Monday, November 28th.

Police officers will be stationed at both entrances to the park and at each end of the River Trail to keep people safe during the hunt. The golf course will also be closed. Every precautionary measure to ensure safety is being taken to make sure no one but the geese and the hunters are in the park at that time.
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.
  • Pay a $10.00 permit fee at the Orientation;
  • 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

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