Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get Me a Goose Gun

I will occasionally go and shoot skeet with one of my colleagues at the office. We really like going to a range out in the country about an hour or so north of the office in the middle of a transitional area that still has farms and a few sub-divisions. The guys who run it are salt of the earth Midwesterners who mostly shoot for sport, but some hunt. On Saturdays they fire up a grill and cook brats or burgers and everyone throws in 5 bucks and helps clean up.

You have to pick up your shell casings at each station. You have to wear ear protection. There is absolutely no booze because unlike some morons these guys understand the basics of gun safety. And the members have to volunteer at least two weekends a year to clean up as well as pay dues.

Why the Norman Rockwell review of this club? Because several years ago I met a guy there who told me he was something I had never heard of before - a dedicated goose hunter. I had met people who specialized in all sorts of shooting, but never before geese. Geese hunters use larger gauge shotguns (10 gauge, which is pretty big shot) because their main targets, the rodent of the American subdivision, the Canadian Goose is pretty big and well insulated from shot.

I wish we had more goose hunters after today's miraculous story about the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River because it looks like a couple of geese brought the plane down.

Why are there so many Canadian Geese in New York? Well for one thing, to kill one you first have to read this four page explanation of how you JUST BEGIN TO APPLY TO HUNT THEM OR "DISTURB" THEIR NESTS.

In the spirit of full disclosure I, like I suspect almost everyone who lives outside of a major city, hate Canadian Geese. When I was a kid we'd see them actually migrating, and it symbolized the end of summer when you'd see these massive flocks of them heading south. Now when I see one shitting on my car or chasing a jogger or howling at 6 am it symbolizes what I view as misplaced priorities.

Suburbanization has created habitat that the geese love, and there's food in these areas all year long. So we are indirectly responsible for creating this mess. The response? Well when you Google Canadian Geese the first ad that pops up is for Goose Repellents.

I'm not suggesting we all go out and begin blasting away at any goose we see. Rather, I'm just pointing out that maybe, just maybe, the pendulum has swung a weeeeeee bit too far in favor of the geese. Setting aside for a moment that geese are nasty, aggressive, loud creatures that produce prodigious amounts of bird poop, no one wants people shooting guns randomly in heavily populated areas.

Still 155 people could have died............155 is a lot, and allowing some more limited hunting in some urban states might at least make these birds more concerned about shacking up next to humans. And the views of the folks at PETA about how geese should never be hunted and can be "managed" strikes me as pretty unreasonable after the events of yesterday. I mean airports are supposed to specialize in that type of management and those birds almost killed a lot of innocent people

If folks in Blue States like New York are, understandably, reluctant to take up hunting I have some guys who can help solve this problem. You provide the brats, they'll bring their own ammo.


  1. A good argument for taking care of sky-rats. Too bad that, contrary to popular immagination, they are not very good eating.

    A bigger problem is that if H.R.45 passes, gun ownership will become so restricted that arguments about shooting geese, or Fundman's beloved clay pigeons, will become a moot point. See:

    Also, just to be ornithologically correct, the correct common name for Branta canadensis is "Canada Goose" not "Canadian Goose."

  2. The solution to Fundman's question is obvious: put the good men and women of TSA on this case. Isn't their job the protection of passenger's on our nations airlines?