Managing a Controversial Goose Hunt on a Suburban Reservoir

A 1993 hunt for Canada geese (Branta canadensis) on 15,390-ha Lake Sidney Lanier, near Atlanta, was the most controversial hunting event to date in Georgia. The hunt was proposed principally as an effort to reduce nuisance problems from a goose flock numbering 1,500-2,000 birds. Media and public attention was intense for several months preceding the hunt with at least 29 articles published in both local and statewide newspapers. Media attention peaked on the first day of the hunt with 4 television stations, 2 newspapers, and 1 radio station covering the hunt on site. Special regulations that limited the number of hunters and that designated specific sites at least 305 m from human development were devised to satisfy safety concerns of the public. Intense enforcement patrols were successfully used to prevent problems during the hunts. A combination of good wildlife management, strong public relations, and effective law enforcement are needed if hunting is to persist in suburban settings like the one described here.

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