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Geese get out of airport flight path

The great goose hunting experiment on Hatfield Lake is apparently working. New Richmond Regional Airport Manager Mike Demulling said the numbers of migratory geese on the lake have dwindled since hunting began.

City officials had hoped to keep goose numbers down on the lake, as the waterfowl are a potential hazard for aircraft landing and taking off at the adjacent airport.

The city council approved a special hunting zone within the city limits to accomplish the goal. This is the first hunting season where geese have been harvested in the city.

"It's worked," Demulling said. "The geese aren't sticking around."

According to one of the 30 hunters issued a city permit to hunt on Hatfield Lake, between 1,500 and 2,000 geese were sleeping on the lake prior to Oct. 22.

On that Saturday, five hunters shot 12 geese during the morning hours of that first day.

By mid morning, the hunter reported, the geese had figured out that the northern part of the lake was not safe and they moved toward the opposite shore.

On Sunday, Oct. 23, three hunters harvested four geese. The flock of migrating bird then moved off Hatfield Lake and onto a pond near Polfus Implement.

After the first two days of hunting, less than 100 geese slept on Hatfield over night.

Demulling said he's glad the hunt resulted in the desired effect.

"We just wanted them (the geese) to move along," Demulling said. "They learned. It's a thousand percent better since hunting began."

New Richmond Police Chief Mark Samelstad, who issued the hunting permits for Hatfield Lake, said there have been no problems reported during the hunt so far.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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