« The Great Outdoors

Rounded-up baby geese in Moorhead go to feed wolves

by Mike McFeely

The baby geese rounded up and shipped away from the American Crystal Sugar lagoons in north Moorhead are sent to feed wolves, not rabbits.

That's the word from Tom Keefe, president of Canada Goose Management Inc. of Cottage Grove, Minn., the company permitted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to remove nuisance geese from around the state.

Keefe got back to me today after I left a message yesterday, allowing me to follow-up on the original blog post  that was spurred by a call to the "Mike McFeely Show" on 790 KFGO. Yes, that was a confusing sentence. For background, click here.

Anyway ...

Keefe said his company has contracted for years with American Crystal to remove geese along their lagoons on Clay County 18, just east of Highway 75 in north Moorhead. It's a water-quality issue. The geese poop in the lagoons, putting fecal coli into the water, which then causes issues for American Crystal when the company has to discharge the water.

So Canada Goose Management employees round up the geese after the goslings are hatched. Adult geese, Keefe said, are donated to food shelves. The goslings, which are mostly fuzzy feathers and very little meat, go to a company that provides food for animals. In this case, Keefe said, the goslings will go to feed wolves.

"The biggest question we get is: Can't you release them back into the wild?," Keefe said. "The answer is no. The state won't allow that."

Not to mention the fact that no city or rural area would want more Canada geese.

Keefe said about 300 geese were removed from the Crystal Sugar lagoons this year. 

In an ironic twist, Keefe used to work in Jamestown, N.D., and helped establish local resident Canada goose populations back when that was the goal of government entities and sportsmen's groups. Now he makes his living removing geese, which have exploded in population in the past few decades and in many cases have become nuisances.

"I've kind of come full circle," Keefe said with a chuckle.