Martha’s Vineyard will echo with the sounds of the early goose season

The Massachusetts early Canada goose hunting season begins Tuesday, September 3, one half hour before sunrise and ends at sunset on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The timing of the season is intended to reduce growing populations of geese that have lost their natural urge to migrate with the seasons. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) waterfowl project leader H. Heusmann said the early season provides goose hunters with ample hunting and gives more time to landowners to allow hunters to reduce the size of nuisance flocks of resident geese.

Canada geese feed on young growth and pull vegetation up by the roots. The large birds also produce from one half to a pound and half of droppings per day according to state wildlife biologists.

A study of fecal contamination in several Island ponds by a University of New Hampshire professor identified geese and cormorants as significant sources of E. coli bacteria.

According to a history of goose management provided on the DFW website, prior to the 1930s, it was unusual for geese to nest in Massachusetts. That is no longer the case.

In Massachusetts, there are two different populations of Canada geese. The first is the migratory population that passes through in the spring and fall. The second is the resident population, descendants of captive geese once used by waterfowl hunters to attract passing birds.