By Lyonel Doherty
Canada geese are in hunters’ sights again in the Town of Oliver.
Recently, council authorized the continuation of the goose management program at Tucelnuit Lake and the Oliver Airport.
Six permits have been issued to hunters this fall, and reports suggest that the program has had an impact on goose numbers in Oliver.
During a discussion, Town staff was asked if hunting the geese has made a difference in the community.
Mayor Ron Hovanes said he doesn’t see small flocks of geese like he used to.
“I would just hate to see in 30 years from now there isn’t a single goose in the area,” he commented.
Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger said the hunters have indicated the geese are getting wise and finding alternate locations to congregate.
In her report, Corporate Officer Diane Vaykovich said they have seen a reduction in goose numbers in the Tucelnuit Lake area and the airport since the program began.
She stated the program requires hunters to provide the Town with the number of kills and the location of these kills. She noted that hunters bagged 30 geese in the 2016-2017 season.
Vaykovich said hunters are required to provide references related to their expertise, and must comply with all regulations, including obtaining permission from owners of buildings within 100 metres of the location where shooting takes place. Permit holders must have liability insurance in the amount of $2 million.
She pointed out that hunters are not paid for shooting the geese.
The Town began permitting goose hunting in 2010 to reduce the number of urban geese in the area. Of particular concern was the droppings they left behind at Tucelnuit Lake (on the beaches) and the safety hazard they posed at the airport.
“Continuing with the program will ensure that the geese remain uncomfortable in these areas,” Vaykovich said. “Any progress made over the last eight hunting seasons will be negatively impacted should the program cease.”
Vaykovich said the Town has not received any complaints from the public regarding the program. She added that complaints of the goose population have lessened over the years.
The Town of Oliver contributes $2,000 annually to the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program, which includes egg addling.