State senator under fire for opposing efforts to control geese population

At the very least State Sen. Dave Senjem (R-Rochester), hoped his legislation would draw attention to the methods used to keep the state’s Canada goose population under control.

Is “shoving a goose off the nest, picking up eggs, oiling them and putting them back and falsely letting the mother goose sit on them when nothing is going to happen respectful? I find that offensive and I think we can do better,” Senjem said. “I think we should respect wildlife.”

In the process, however, the veteran lawmaker ended up calling considerable attention to himself when his proposal to ban all efforts to control the goose’s population for a year while politicians debate the issue wound up in the Star Tribune.

He was taken aback when Rochester officials chose to reduce the number of goslings that would hatch this spring. A company that the city hired partnered with volunteers to roam four local parks in search of goose eggs that they slathered in corn oil, thereby cutting off the oxygen supply needed for a gosling to develop.

Following protocols set by the Humane Society of the United States, only eggs that were within 14 days of gestation were treated because it’s believed the embryo doesn’t yet experience pain, Paul Widman, Rochester’s director of parks and recreation, has said.

It turns out many readers responding to the coverage do not share Senjem’s fondness for a waterfowl that leaves its mark on parks, golf courses and lake homes wherever it goes. Some used the forum to vent their frustration over what some view as a lack of control over the species.

–I never thought I would say this but I hate the geese.  They have taken over our lake and poop Everywhere on our beach and property. I hate them.  we have tried everything. Nothing works. Every time we go up we have to spend hours picking it all up. It’s so gross. 

–Dear senator Senjem – perhaps we need to just these rascals on the Endangered Species List? Or perhaps you need to get a bit more realistic and think beyond your own interests! Take a walk in any park with 100’s of geese and then rethink your silly actions with the bill. 

–Ask some of the golf courses around if they like the geese hanging out? There are too many geese and some sort of population control is needed. It’s done with deer, why not geese?

Senjem’s expressed openness to alternative methods to control the geese population, including a longer hunting season, has also drawn fire. But he aims to give geese “a sporting chance.”

Although he’s not a huge fan of the idea, Senjem said that even rounding up the birds in the summer to be processed for food shelf meat would give geese a “sporting chance not to be netted.”

“I would rather see a goose be allowed to come out of its egg, grow up and be allowed to become a game bird,” he said.

At this late stage in the legislative session, Senjem’s proposal appears to stand as little chance of survival as an oiled goose egg. No one has offered similar legislation in the House.