Kelowna Springs Goose Management
As we all are aware, geese can be a nuisance. They can distract one from enjoying their golf experience. They can be a safety concern, as - like any animal, they will protect themselves when cornered.
We do our best throughout the season to tidy up their messes. This ranges from mowing the tuffs of grass, to removing their droppings and working on scare tactics in the off season.
Over the years we have partnered with the Okanagan Regional Goose Management Committee to control and reduce the number of resident geese. Their job is to track the movement of the geese, capture and relocate geese, and addle eggs to control populations. There is no quick fix, but there is enough data to show that the numbers in the Okanagan are reducing to a manageable size. For all their data you can check it out here www.okanagangooseplan.com.
There have been several products or tools that have been invented and tried over the years - blinking lights, coyotes or decoys, lasers and spray materials. We have tried most of these, but geese are a smart bird and can adapt to many situations. Most of these strategies work but only for a short period of time, and without constant upkeep the birds will adapt to the situation.
Laser research has shown to be the most effective on courses allowed to use them. With our proximity to the flight path we are unable to use them for safety reasons. The geese will also learn the habits of our staff and members.
In the winter months we go out at different times of the day to scare them off site but have noticed that we need to alter our times from week to week or they learn what time is safe to come back. The same goes for the golf season. They are rarely around during the morning hours. Generally, they will come back around 2-4 in the afternoon. Like I was saying, these are smart animals. They have also figured out that with sheer volume our resident coyotes will leave them alone and stop hunting them.
We do our best with cleaning up after the geese with the time given. We use chain mats, blowers, shovels, and mowers to tidy up after them. Our main goal is to provide great playing conditions, which includes a tidy golf course, but it all comes down to prioritizing. We do not overlook the mess. It’s simply that we are going to get there after the normal tasks are complete.
Our plan is simple. We will continue to work with the ORGMC on reducing the populations in the valley, continue to use some scare tactics where applicable, and clean up after them as much as we can throughout the season.
Gilbert LeBlanc, Course Superintendent