Canada Geese Damage Management Areas

Agricultural Crops




Human Health

      Issues-Water Qlty

Human Safety






The following are agencies that address general problems with the damage of Canada geese.

Consult the links in the left column for additional listings of agencies and organizations tied to specific threats from Canada geese.

Federal Agencies

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is a federal agency that works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. More specifically the USFWS plays a vital role in the management of Canada geese. In relation to Canada goose crop damage, the USFWS is deemed as the highest agency from a hierarchal standpoint. Canada geese are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Act, which requires the USFWS to be responsible in the allocation of depredation permits of Canada geese.

“A Federal Migratory Bird Depredation Permit is required to capture or kill migratory birds for depredation control purposes. The permit authorizes certain management and control activities necessary to provide for human health and safety protect personal property, or allow resolution of other injury to people or property. No permit is required merely to scare or herd depredating migratory birds other than endangered or threatened species and bald or golden eagles. You should apply for a depredation permit only after non-lethal management proves unsuccessful. If a permit is issued, you will be expected to continue to integrate non-lethal techniques when implementing any lethal measures” (USFWS 2010).

Due to the dramatic growth in the population of Canada geese, the USFWS adopted special federal regulations in 2006 called “depredation orders” and “control orders” which authorize taking of Canada geese without a federal permit in certain situations. The exact rules and regulations can be accessed on the Code of Federal Regulations website which is adapted from (50 CFR 21.51). The primary rules addressed under the Code of Federal Regulations (50 DRR21.52) include: who or what entities are able to participate in the depredation order, depredation must target resident Canada geese, and other restrictions of depredation order for resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities. Understanding the role of the USFWS agency is a must before taking any management actions towards Canada geese.

United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services

The US Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS-WS) includes a Division of Wildlife Services (WS) that provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts that threaten the nation’s agricultural resources. Wildlife Services works in each state to protect agricultural crops from wildlife damage. The agency provides assistance in the management of problem Canada geese that cause crop damage. Depending on how intense the crop damage is, Wildlife Services provides both technical and direct assistance to resolve conflicts with Canada geese. Technical assistance enables the producer to work on their own. Wildlife Services provides critical information, training, and advice as well as equipment to assist producers in their efforts. When the crop damage is more significant, Wildlife Services provides direct assistance in managing Canada geese and use their expertise and skills to disperse or remove Canada geese from affected areas. Wildlife Services also aides producers in obtaining necessary permits from USFWS to reduce crop damage.

State Agencies

State agencies also play a vital role in the management of damage caused by Canada geese by regulating harvests and issuing depredation permits. It is important to note that each state agency may have different rules and regulations for the management of Canada geese.

The webpage lists the name of each state and by clicking on the state of concern the corresponding state laws can be located. State agencies offer assistance in managing Canada geese.

The responsibility of the management of Canada geese in municipal areas varies by state, but there are a few agencies that the public can contact due to Canada geese problems. These include the

  • local animal control,
  • police department,
  • parks and recreation association.

One could also contact a landscape service to deal with specific lawn, turf, or sidewalk issues if necessary. Local laws often affect the use of controlling devices of techniques “such as firearms, chemicals, and auditory and visual scaring devices” (Smith et al. 1999) and these laws can change periodically so it is important to check with local authorities before taking any action.

Local Agencies

Public Health Departments

Non-Government Organizations

Audobon Society

A conservation organization with chapters in every state.

Wildlife Control Operators Associations

Many states have associations of professional wildlife control operators that may be able to assist with wildlife issues. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management

National Animal Control Association

 Organization which serves animal control officers and personnel, typically in municipal service.

National Wildlife Control Operators Association

 This organization serves the interests of private wildlife control operators.

National Pest Management Association

This organization serves traditional pest control companies (insects, mice, and rats) but has members who are moving into the management of wildlife.

Canada goose track. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel

Recommended Citation

Canada Goose Management Website. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NRES 348 Wildlife Damage Management class, Spring Semester, 2010. Scott Hygnstrom, Instructor; Stephen Vantassel, Webmaster.

Picture (left) is a Canada goose track. Photo: Stephen M. Vantassel

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