Shooting geese a necessity, says local hunter
A local hunter believes he is the subject of a petition to ban hunting in the Harrison Mills area. The petition was presented to council in December, but referred back to staff.
Hunter and Harrison Mills resident Dick Cameron read a story about the petition in the Observer recently, and realized the similarities between skirmishes between himself and his neighbours. In response, he said he has every right to hunt the geese on his land — something council agreed upon back in December.
"You only have to be 150 metres away from a building or a church, a schoolyard, that sort of thing," Cameron told the Observer. "And a shotgun is not dangerous past 150m. It just comes down like light hail. It goes up in the air, and you can catch it in your hand."
A good distance to shoot the geese is 45 yards, he added.
And shooting them is a necessity for good field management.
"Three geese will eat as much as a cow," Cameron said, and when it comes time to harvest, the field is littered with goose droppings. Even worse than geese are the ducks, who rip the grass up from the roots. "This time of year it's not so bad, but in the spring it's a disaster."
He allows other hunters to come onto his land and shoot the geese, including friends, their children and First Nation hunters who are hunting on behalf of elders in their community.
And yes, he agreed, the guns can be loud if you're trying to sleep in on a Saturday. That's when Cameron and his friends may get together and talk about upcoming hunting trips, while keeping an eye on the fields for the geese.
He raises quail himself, and one time they quit laying for an entire month. Gunfire can even get a milked cow off its milk, he agrees.
"In the distance, it's boom-boom-boom-boom," he said.
But the geese are a nuisance to farmers and inhibit their ability to produce crops.
The sounds of hunting will occasionally go silent because hunting of geese is only allowed for a few weeks at a time.
Sometimes they'll shoot for half an hour, and sometimes they'll have to wait from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
"We're allowed 10 geese a day," Cameron said.
Geese prefer bare fields to help them avoid predators. In a berry field, for example, their takeoff would be hampered by bramble.
Cameron said he's got a rapport with the local conservation officer, and while he knows that a few of his neighbours aren't happy with the sounds of hunting, he will continue to do so.
It's his passion. When not guiding and hunting in Canada, Cameron is busy guiding in South Africa.
He's looking forward to an upcoming return trip to South Africa to hunt lion and other large game. Hunting near African villages is much different than in Canada. Everyone has a specific job on an African hunt, and the villagers are thrilled to receive elephant meat, for example. While beautiful in photographs, the massive animals can be more than a nuisance to villagers. They can run rampant, and therefore be deadly to anything in their path.
As for the local Canada goose, Cameron said weekend mornings shootings are enjoyable and useful, and no more disturbing to local pets and humans than celebratory fireworks.