Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
By Kathy Thompson
St. Henry controlling geese without needing to kill them
  ST. HENRY - Council members were pleased to learn not one goose has been killed since an emergency ordinance was passed last month to allow geese hunting at the wastewater plant.
"We have about a dozen persistent geese out there right now," village administrator Ron Gelhaus told council members Monday night. "But we've been working hard out there and so far, not one has been taken. That may change, but we're very pleased right now."
Geese have made a home at the 60-acre plant and surrounding ponds for the past few years. Their feces are often spread throughout the town by trucks that come and go at the nearby Cooper Farms turkey processing plant. The overpopulation of geese has also led to poorer water quality of the ponds and soil and bank erosion, Gelhaus has said. The birds tend to nest near roadways, which could have resulted in traffic accidents or injuries, he added.
After other methods failed to deter the birds, including a dog and noise from a .22-caliber gun loaded with blanks, the village passed an ordinance to allow early geese hunting.
The legislation allows shooting BB guns, air guns, firearms, slings, bow and arrows, or crossbows at the water treatment facility. Anyone wishing to hunt the geese is required to obtain a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and gain permission from the village.
"But we haven't had to resort to that yet," Gelhaus said. "We had a couple of hunters that were on private property near the plant that seemed to make a difference and we've been doing a lot of work and the noise from the trucks and tractors has seemed to help."
Gelhaus said employees of the village, which has a license from ODNR to destroy nests and hunt, have been jostling eggs to prevent hatching.
In other news, Gelhaus told council members all focus right now is on the parks around the village.
The pool has been drained, painted and is ready for the year, he said.
Council members also passed a third reading on an ordinance to contract with the Mercer County Commissioners for ambulance service. The contract is the same as last year's; the cost cannot be more than $7,814.94 or less than $6,067.50.
• The next council meeting is 6 p.m. May 27 at village hall.
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