Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 2000


Special hunting seasons were first implemented in 1992 to help reduce the growth rate of Pennsylvania's rapidly expanding resident Canada goose (Branta canadensis) population. Special seasons timed to occur before and after fall migration were successful in harvesting resident and not migrant Canada geese. Since 1992, September and late season hunting opportunities have been gradually expanded to include the entire state. The special season harvest of resident Canada geese has increased from about 13,000 birds in 1992 to over 68,000 in 1999. Special hunting seasons now account for over 80% of the entire Canada goose kill in Pennsylvania. Despite the harvest increase, the resident goose population in Pennsylvania has continued to grow from 95,000 to over 250,000 since special seasons were first implemented. Canada goose direct band recovery and harvest rates have increased since the inception of special seasons in Pennsylvania. However, there is little evidence that harvest rates of suburban geese have increased and appear to be below that necessary to stabilize population growth. This limits the effectiveness of special seasons to remove problem geese in suburban settings, where most nuisance and damage complaints originate. Regulated hunting is the most cost effective method of controlling resident geese, but in suburban areas where hunting is often restricted, additional methods are needed to resolve nuisance and damage complaints.