Can I Shoot Geese On My Property?

Flock of grey gooses

In certain situations, yes. If you have geese on your property and you’re a hunter, you might sometimes wonder if it’s okay for you to go ahead and kill them.

Even if you’ve never hunted before, you might be tempted to try, especially if the geese are a nuisance.   

All geese like to graze on lawns, they eat the insects found there and will defecate on them too, which can be frustrating for homeowners. As if dealing with a sparse lawn isn’t bad enough, it is also difficult to remove geese. They tend to return to their breeding sites.  

This article will explore what you can legally do to remove geese from your property. 

Can I Shoot Geese On My Property? A Question Of Legality

legallity of shooting goose on private land

Not without permission.

In the U.S., the law states that it’s illegal to harm geese, their nests, and their eggs without first getting permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Canada geese are also protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This act prohibits the killing, selling, capturing, transport, or trading of protected migratory bird species unless you have authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The above laws might be especially concerning if your property is overrun by geese and they’ve built nests, as you will not be able to eliminate them from your grounds.

How Do I Get A Permit To Remove Geese From My Property?

Canada goose on private land

If you’ve got Canada geese nests and eggs on your property, you’ll have to be particularly careful, as you’re not legally allowed to just remove them.

However, there are permits you can get that allow you to remove the geese. These must be issued by the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services. When done properly and effectively, removing goose nests from your property can help to encourage the geese to migrate.

There are also other types of permits you can get to remove geese from your property. These are useful when legal hunting methods don’t help to reduce geese numbers. These permits enable nuisance Canada geese to be safely removed via methods that aren’t usually allowed under trapping and hunting rules.

An example of a permit you can get is the Damage and Nuisance Animal Control Permit. These are given to homeowners after their problem has been inspected, and they are primarily issued when crops have been damaged.

However, nuisance permits are not only reserved for crop damage; they can be issued under the following conditions:

  • The geese are causing damage to property, or are about to. 
  • The geese are a threat to public safety, e.g behaving aggressively towards people.
  • The geese are causing annoyance within, upon, or underneath a building. 

So, it’s worthwhile to learn about your specific state’s laws regarding the removal of geese from your property. This will ensure that you don’t do anything illegal or unethical. 

Does The Season Matter?

Yes, there are certain times when it is safer, and advisable, for residents to shoot geese to whittle down their populations. You’ll have to check with your state’s laws as these rules can vary from one region to another.

In Michigan, for example, there are special goose-hunting seasons that occur in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These are specifically assigned to target resident geese in suburban settings. 

Other Ways Of Removing Geese From My Property

Trained dog chases wild geese

If you can’t shoot geese on your property, there are other ways to discourage them from being drawn to it.

Note that you should never resort to shooting a goose with a BB gun or try to harm it in any way. Wounded geese will suffer unnecessarily, so consider better, more ethical ways of eliminating geese from your property. Here are some ideas: 

  • Stop mowing your lawn so much. Some geese, such as Canadian geese, like to eat succulent, short grass. If you let your grass grow, it will be less appealing to them. You should especially refrain from cutting grass that’s near bodies of water so that geese won’t be able to use it for hiding purposes.
  • Use light and noise. Using these on your property is a good way to deter geese from wanting to set up their nests on your property. Other techniques, such as the use of distress calls, can also be useful.
  • Set up fences. Low fences on or around your property can help to prevent geese from entering it. Although adult geese will be able to fly over the fencing, their young won’t be able to, and the goose mothers won’t leave them behind.
  • Protect your pond from geese. You can do this by using mesh or wire to prevent geese from being able to get into the water. 
  • Get a dog. If you have a dog on your property, this can make a big difference. Dogs are noisy, which will be off-putting to geese. The best dog breeds to help you herd geese off your property include Australian Shepherds and Border Collies.
  • Use wild animal decoys. If you don’t want to get a dog or you have a dog that doesn’t deter geese effectively, you can purchase coyote or owl decoys instead. These can be placed around your garden to deter geese.
  • Don’t feed geese. When you first spot geese on your property, you might do so if you think it’s charming to see them. Feeding geese is linked to reducing their fear of humans, which can cause them to become more aggressive towards them. Make sure you tell other members of your household not to feed them under any circumstances.

Related Questions 

Solving goose problem on your property

Below, we’ve answered some common questions regarding geese and having them near your property.

Is goose poop dangerous for human health?

Goose excrement isn’t considered dangerous unless it’s inhaled or ingested. However, since children usually play on lawns, they can be at a higher risk of being exposed to the excrement if you have a goose problem on your property.

Why would a goose climb onto your roof?

While it might seem strange to think that a goose can move onto your roof, geese are capable of doing this. It’s a smart way for them to evade predators.

Should you use a goose deterrent product?

You can try applying a goose deterrent product to your lawn, but make sure it’s made with natural ingredients and is safe for use around wildlife and dogs. 

Conclusion

Can I shoot geese on my property? If you’re dealing with unwanted geese on your property, you might not be able to shoot them. It’s actually illegal unless you have a permit.

However, there are other ways to eliminate geese from your property without harming or killing them, as we’ve explained in this article.

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