A permit is not required to scare, repel, or herd geese to protect your property, as long as the birds are not killed or harmed.
Hazing geese can involve vigorously chasing geese with a broom or water hose. Repeated hazing can cause geese to relocate, but you must begin again if geese return. Hazing is most effective when geese first arrive at a location.
Trained Dogs: Some landowners and land managers have used highly trained border collies with skilled handlers to chase geese off their properties. This is not a method to be tried with a canine pet—dogs cannot be allowed to harm geese or other waterfowl. Leash laws in most cities and towns do not allow dogs to run free to chase geese. There are state regulations prohibiting use of dogs during April 1 to August 1 (when geese are nesting, molting their wing feathers, and rearing their broods). However, where allowed and used consistently, this method has proven successful in persuading geese to avoid local sites.
Noisemakers and Pyrotechnics: Check with local authorities before starting noise-making, but loud and surprising noises can be a deterrent to resident geese. Where allowed, 12-gauge 'cracker shells' and other sharp, percussive sounds can prompt geese to move to another, more peaceful location. Be sure to let neighbors know in advance of noise-making plans.
Scarecrows, Balloons, Scare Tape: As a short-term tactic, often used with other methods, geese can sometimes be scared away using various shapes and movements. Scare tape is thin, shiny ribbon, often silver on one side and red on the other. Place the reflective tape where it is visible to the geese and make a low fence across the area where you don’t want geese to cross. Tie short lengths of the shiny ribbon on the cross tape—the flashing and rattling of the tape can frighten geese. People, pets, and wind can break the tape, so it needs to be inspected and repaired daily to be useful.
Swans: Some locations have acquired swans (with clipped wings—so they cannot fly) and released them on a pond or lake to frighten away geese. This method is not recommended where the swans will come in regular contact with people, as they can be aggressive to humans as well as geese. Check local laws to be sure swans are allowed in your area. Be aware that swans can also breed, and care must be taken to ensure you don’t create an over-population of swans, instead!
Hunting: In non-urban areas where firearm discharge is allowed, hunting of Canada geese remains a cost-effective way to manage goose populations. Hunters who purchase state licenses and federal waterfowl stamps contribute to the costs associated with hunting waterfowl and help reduce overpopulation of Canada geese.
In summary, if you want to discourage Canada geese, respond quickly, stay persistent, and try to use more than one method at a time. If feeding is occurring in the immediate area, all other methods to discourage geese may be of little use. Be certain to check local ordinances and obtain any necessary permits (as outlined, above) before beginning any control measures.
Updated March, 2007. DOW/Gammonley