Habitat and Protection
Canada geese naturally occur in South Dakota. Many people enjoy seeing and watching geese, but they can be messy, destructive and aggressive at certain times of the year. Many of the geese in Sioux Falls are “residents”, who never leave the city. However, during the winter, Sioux Falls experiences an in-flux of migratory geese from surrounding states.
Geese are attracted to locations with short grass or agricultural fields near a water source. They mate for life, which in a suburban location could mean 10-15 years. The pair starts to lay claim to their territory in early spring (February and March) and by April they are laying their eggs.
Geese are protected by state and federal government regulations. Special permits are required to capture, haze or kill geese or to handle their eggs. Animal Control manages goose populations in the City of Sioux Falls through a federal permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
There are many ways of discouraging geese from settling on your property, but no one method will solve the problem. City geese become comfortable around people and pets. Here are some tips to keep geese off of your property:
- Don’t feed them. Feeding geese lures more geese to an area, helps make them less afraid of people, and is unhealthy for them. Feeding geese is illegal in the parks and along the bike trail in Sioux Falls.
- Fence them out. Geese are often flightless in the summer while raising their young, and they often will walk out of the water and feed on nearby plants, such as grass or crops. They can be held back with a 30 inch tall high woven wire fence.
- Don’t plant grass right by the water or keep it tall and thick. Tall grass or other plants are harder to walk through and don’t taste as good to geese as freshly cut grass and newly seeded areas.
- Use visual scaring devices. Mylar tape or other flashy, flexible materials can be tied to posts or fences to scare away geese.
- Use a repellent. Chemical repellents can be effective if they are applied consistently. As the grass grows and is mowed, or if it rains, the repellent must be re-applied.