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Chestatee golf course wont shoot geese after all
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Chestatee Golf Club has decided not to shoot the Canada geese that have been troubling the course, said local resident Carroll Polak.

The club had originally obtained a permit to euthanize geese that have been eating the turf and leaving droppings on the course, according to a notice sent to residents.

Although golf club employees had no comment, Polak claimed that shootings have been indefinitely postponed.

"We have a beautiful golf course this season, and it looks better than it has in years," Polak said. "I don't want the geese to mess it up either, but I don't want to shoot them.

"Right now, we have been researching other deterrents. The geese won't leave until the goslings are old enough to fly. So we're hoping they will be allowed to stay until then."

Kimberly Byrd, another local resident, is not so confident.

"I think we were just appeased because we got everyone's attention," Byrd said. "It's up to Chestatee at this point.

"Some golf courses use border collies to chase geese away but they're expensive. A lot of us would be happy to try and come up with the money for an alternative method, but we haven't been given the chance."

The Canada goose is a common golf course nuisance. Although a protected species under state and federal law, permits are available to euthanize problem geese but nonlethal harassment techniques are encouraged by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' website.

In a recent notice to residents, golf course Superintendent Andrew Maronge stated several geese living on the course have been eating the grass and leaving droppings, which cause dead spots on the turf.

"In years past we have worked with authorities and tried various methods of harassment in an attempt to get the geese to leave the area, but all have been unsuccessful. As a last resort, we have obtained a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to euthanize the geese by firearm," Maronge wrote in the notice.

However, these techniques rarely work when the geese have young and the geese at Chestatee have two goslings, Polak said.

The Canada goose is one of the great successes of wildlife management. Its numbers dipped to near extinction during the early 1900s due to habitat destruction and overhunting. Soon afterward, management and reintroduction programs began, and now Canada geese are found all over the United States, according to the wildlife conservation group Audubon.

Their numbers are so great that in some areas they are pests.

"In the late (19)90s we had a severe problem with geese. They were a nuisance for golfers and maintenance personnel alike," said Scott Foote, superintendent of the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville.

"We eventually called DNR, who sent someone out to trap and relocate them. They transported between 60 and 70 geese."

In 2006, the Chattahoochee Golf Club eliminated all water on the course in a renovation. Since then, there hasn't been a significant problem with geese, according to Foote.

While the Canada goose is still a protected species under state and federal law, Georgia allows for the hunting of these birds with a permit during specific seasons. However, geese are very adaptable to urban environments and are among leading complaints to the Georgia DNR.