Sooke eyes bylaw fix for geese shooting

Burgeoning bird population must be slowed: CRD director

The District of Sooke will amend its firearms discharge bylaw to allow the expanded hunting of geese on farmland.

There is an estimated population of 6,000 non migratory geese in the Capital Regional District – many residing in the Sooke area – and that number is estimated to grow to 60,000 over the next 20 years, said Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks in a presentation to council Monday night.

“These 6,000 geese are already causing tremendous harm to our farmers’ crops – 60,000 would be devastating,” Hicks said.

Hicks is proposing that if rural municipalities amend their bylaws to allow farmers already possessing crop-protection permits to hunt on their land, the number of geese could be reduced.

The move would allow hunters and farmers to hunt on their land using decoys and blinds. The hunters could eat the geese they shoot.

Farmers and hunters taking part in the program would need to follow federal rules and have the proper permits, Hicks added.

Other methods are also used to manage the numbers of geese, including egg addling and sanctioned kills. Last year, the CRD OK’d an organized hunt, which can only be held during molting season, and 43 birds were killed at a cost of $31,200.

Hicks, with the blessing of the CRD, has also written North Saanich Central Saanich, Saanich and Metchosin asking them to amend their firearm bylaw.