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Canada Geese

  • Depredation Orders have been developed to allow destruction of geese, nests and eggs during closed season; see below.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a review of resident Canada goose populations for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was published in September 2006. Based on this EIS, the USFWS revised the Federal Regulations that pertain to resident Canada geese.

Changes were made to make it easier for the public to resolve resident Canada goose conflicts. Among the changes, specific “Depredation Orders” were developed that allow landowners to remove Canada geese at airports, in agricultural areas, and in other areas where they are causing conflicts with human populations.

One of these depredation orders, the Nest and Egg Depredation Order, allows landowners to destroy resident Canada goose nests and eggs. This Order can be used by landowners in Virginia. No permit is required, but you must register with the USFWS in order to conduct this activity. A special website has been developed specifically for this (registration process), and provides additional information on the program.

The Agricultural Depredation Order allows agricultural producers including landowners, operators, and tenants actively engaged in commercial agriculture to use certain lethal methods to control Resident Canada geese on lands that they personally control and where geese are damaging agricultural crops.

Similar to the Nest and Egg Depredation Order noted above, the Agricultural Depredation Order was developed through the Environmental Impact Statement on Resident Canada Geese developed by the USFWS. The Agricultural Depredation Order is somewhat different in that it is administered by the state agencies and state authorization is required to conduct this control. There is no federal website registration or federal permit needed, but a state permit is required.

The permit is free and agricultural producers can apply for the permit by telephone at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, P.O. Box 130, Moseley, VA 23120; phone: (804) 739-7739; fax: (804) 739-7738; physical address: 21321 Hull Street, Moseley, VA 23120. The authorization process will provide a quick turn-around for permits and should make the process more user friendly for landowners and managers.

Activities allowed under this permit include the lethal take of Canada geese from April 1 through August 31, and the destruction of Canada goose nests. All management actions must occur on the property controlled/managed by the applicant. Geese may not be taken using hunting methods such as decoys and calls. Permit holders must keep a log of their control activities and must submit a report by September 15 of each year detailing the number of birds taken. A copy of the Permit Application, detailing the terms and conditions of the permit, and a Report Form can be obtained from USDA at the number/address listed above.

Past efforts have shown that Canada goose depredation control is most effective when a combination of techniques is used in an integrated approach. These techniques include hunting seasons (special early and regular Resident Canada goose seasons and liberal bag limits), nest and egg destruction, non-lethal treatment methods like hazing and harassment, habitat management and lethal alternatives when needed.

For additional information about Resident Canada geese and other waterfowl populations in Virginia, visit the waterfowl section of this website.