EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can submit questions to the staff.
This story was updated at 4 pm on Aug. 31, 2023.
MOUNT VERNON — Following the publication of this story at 5 a.m. today, our reader who asked about the geese at Ariel-Foundation Park emailed to say that she found the article interesting and informative.
She also correctly pointed out that it did not answer her question about where the geese went. Thomas Hinkle, director of public works for the city, provided clarification this afternoon.
“They don’t just hang out at Ariel-Foundation Park. They hang out at numerous places around town,” Hinkle explained. “They’ll hang out along the river, and it leads to other places.”
Those places include the ball diamonds at Memorial Park, the soccer fields on Cougar Drive, and around the high school. Hinkle said they also visit Beam’s Lake on Rt. 13 south.
“They will move around, but they love Ariel-Foundation Park. That’s where they like to nest,” Hinkle said. “It has a lot of vegetation — they love to eat the vegetation”
He said visitors can find the geese around the lakes, in The Meadows, and around the reflecting pond.
“It’s not uncommon to go out there and see 50 to 75 at one time,” he said. “Are they all in one area? No.
“Sometimes they end up in the woods area,” he added.
Controlling the population
Although our reader jokingly wrote, “Maybe they’ve just kept themselves hidden for the hour or so a day that I’ve been there,” many geese do make the park their home.
They abound enough that the city will close the park on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and Friday, Sept. 8, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a controlled goose hunt.
The city provides four blinds; each holds four hunters. All of the blinds are around the lakes.
“Over the years we have established repeat hunters,” Hinkle said. “It has not really been necessary to post looking for hunters because we are so limited on space.”
City council members first authorized controlled hunts in 2016. Hinkle said the hunts have helped control the geese population.
“It’s not a perfect solution to the problem of the amount of geese that show up, but it’s one thing we do for the management program,” he said.
“Over the years there have been several things tried, like goose cannon and goose decoys,” Hinkle continued. “What we’ve found since I have been involved is the controlled goose hunt helps the most.”
He anticipates the two-day hunts to yield 40 to 60 geese.
Other management methods include egg addling in early spring and nest destruction.
Another option is a herding permit. That involves rounding up the geese and moving them to an ODNR-approved location.
“We’ve never done that before, but we are in discussions about doing that next spring,” Hinkle said.
Hinkle said the city will conduct another controlled goose hunt later in the season. The regular goose hunting season is November through February.
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