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Protecting Canada geese on a wildlife management area in east-central Nevada

  • Author(s): Bowers, Zackary L.
  • et al.
Abstract

In early 2003, at the request of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), Wildlife Services (WS) conducted wildlife damage management (WDM) activities to protect nesting waterfowl within the Key Pitman Wildlife Management Area (KPWMA) in east-central Nevada. The WDM activities were aimed primarily at protecting Canada geese from predators, primarily coyotes and common ravens. The KPWMA (approximately 2,000 hectares) provides important habitat for the nesting and rearing of Canada geese in a predominantly desert area. Although the KPWMA’s habitat has been judged by biologists to be adequate for successful waterfowl nesting, the number of gosling geese hatching and surviving to flight stage in recent years has been considered by NDOW biologists to be unacceptably low. Predatory mammalian and avian species seen concentrated around water areas of the WMA were believed to be a primary factor in the low survivability. WS was contracted by NDOW to conduct WDM activities during the period of the goslings’ greatest vulnerability to predation, March through June. As per directions from NDOW, WDM activities targeted only coyotes and common ravens found within, or immediately adjoining, waterfowl nesting areas. A significant increase in the number of goslings surviving to flight stage was set as the measure of whether the project was a success. WS used DRC-1339-treated chicken eggs placed in close proximity to waterfowl nesting areas to reduce raven numbers at these specific sites. To remove offending coyotes, WS utilized leghold traps, trail snares, and calling and shooting. NDOW reported a significant increase in Canada goose goslings surviving to flight stage following the 4-month treatment period, and deemed the project a success.

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