It hits the fan: city looks to UWSP to ‘harass’ geese at Pfiffner

By Brandi Makuski

The city’s deer management committee may have a solution to the ongoing problem of excessive goose droppings at Pfiffner Pioneer Park.

Park users often file complaints with the city about the unpleasant issue present in the city’s west side park, according to Parks Director Tom Schrader, but it’s a problem the city has been working to combat for years.

Beginning in spring of 2014, Schrader’s department deployed a series of cardboard dog silhouettes—jokingly referred to by parks dept. employees as “the goose patrol”—secured in the ground with a stake, to deter fowl from gathering at the park.

“You have to teach them not to come,” Schrader said of the silhouettes in 2015. “If they feel intimidated they’ll go somewhere else.”

The deterrent offered some successes, Schrader said, but they were also subject to being stolen or vandalized, making them difficult to keep in place.

This year, Schrader said, the city is working with students in a Wildlife Damage Management at UWSP. The class, taught by Dr. Scott Hygnstrom, believes some serious “harassment” is in order. Hygnstrom is a member of the deer management committee.

“[The class] investigated possible solutions,” Schrader said, “[and] based on their research, the committee will add this additional deterrent to what is currently being done.”

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 2, the city will begin to “harass the geese”, Schrader said, using a series of bio-acoustical devices and pyrotechnics.

“Research has shown that this type of disturbance should deter geese from the habit of eating grass shoots and depositing feces on the Pfiffner lawn,” Schrader said via email on June 27.

A phone call to Schrader for additional information was not immediately returned.

Schrader’s email said if the option doesn’t work, the committee will seek volunteers to “continue the noise-making approach” to frighten away the geese through the summer.

Schrader also said visitors to Pfiffner Park should not feed the waterfowl.

“Where geese eat, geese poop,” he said.

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