Sixty-nine geese caught on lake
By Jane Myhra
A total of 69 Canadian geese were caught during a roundup on Friday, June 26, in Iola.
At a board meeting on June 30, the Lake Iola Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District reported that 19 of the 69 were adult geese.
Prior to the roundup, members of the Lake District counted 75 geese on Lake Iola.
A tentative date for the roundup was scheduled in early June with the USDA Wildlife Service. The final decision was made on Wednesday, June 24, by the Lake District board.
The WS crew, with the help of four Lake District members, rounded up the geese in about an hour.
They found the geese between the village boat landing and Legion Park.
The geese were herded across the lake toward the collection site, where they were surrounded by gates and coaxed into a truck and then into cages.
According to Lake District Chair John Bertelson, three adult geese escaped capture before reaching the collection site.
“It was a very interesting process,” said Bertelson.
He credited the local volunteers with helping to speed up the process, which will help reduce the cost.
“It was a big job and it was a big success,” said Jerry Harvancik. “I haven’t seen a goose since.”
Bertelson said there have been three geese spotted in the area, and there are probably a few more.
“We are not going to get a goose-free lake,” he said. “The goal is to keep the population the same as it was during the draw down.”
Several people in attendance at the meeting asked if there would be a roundup every year.
“I don’t think we will need to do it every year,” said Lyle Nauman. “If we get enough cooperation with egg oiling, we may not need to do (a roundup) again.”
According to Nauman, the young geese raised on the lake last year will be back next spring to nest. He estimates this will add about 10-12 adults to the resident goose population.
Nauman is a wildlife expert who was appointed to the board in June.
Bertelson reported that the meat from the rounded-up geese will be donated to food pantries and to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s MacKenzie Center located near Poynette.
The MacKenzie Center houses animals native to Wisconsin that are injured, orphaned or for some other reason cannot be released into the wild. The center only accepts animals from licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
The donated meat will help to feed the wild animals.
“I do not support killing for killing sake, so the fact that the geese were processed for food is important to me,” Bertelson said. “In fact, if there were enough natural predators to keep the goose population in check, we wouldn’t even have to consider this lake management tool.”
“I understand the position of those who did not want us to do (a roundup), but I felt that waiting until next year would mean dealing with even more birds,” he said. “Anyone who would like to help us manage the goose population without resorting to a harvest, I encourage you to report any goose nest on the lake so that we can oil the eggs.”
According to Bertelson, nesting normally starts in March, or whenever the ice goes out for the season.
When eggs are properly oiled, they do not hatch. The adult geese continue to sit on the oiled eggs all summer, preventing them from laying additional eggs.
Less geese, less mess
According to Bertelson, the Canadian goose roundup will help keep the lake and the lake area clean.
The 19 adult geese captured in the recent roundup would have produced at least 4,000 pounds of feces in a typical seven-month season. If all 69 geese were adults, they would produce 14,000 pounds (seven tons) of feces per year.
When that 7 tons of feces is deposited where people live and play, it creates both aesthetic and health hazard issues.
Even if the feces were not deposited on land, in the water it contributes to weed growth and also bacteria that causes swimmer’s itch.