Several state parks to limit public access during goose reductions

Large amounts of goose waste at park beaches, picnic areas and in bank-fishing locations have raised health concerns, adversely affected visitor enjoyment, increased erosion, and resulted in increased operating costs.

 “Though we are seeing some success, reduction hunting is still just one of many tools we use to manage geese,” said Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs. “Challenges such as legal-season limitations, recreational demand for popular park areas, local weather, and daily movement patterns of the birds combine to complicate achieving the desired results.”

The dates are chosen to coincide with state and federal hunting seasons and to optimize effectiveness while considering local flight patterns and goose behavior. Potato Creek and Whitewater Memorial state parks will have limited public access with certain areas open only to participating hunters on hunt days. Ouabache, Chain O’Lakes, Shakamak, and Lincoln state parks will be accessible to drawn participants only.

Even though the reductions occur during the slower recreational season, Mycroft said the reduction effort may still affect some visitors.

“We keep visitation rates in mind when selecting dates,” he said. “Our goal is to get in and out, with safety and effective resource management being our top priorities.”

Reduction efforts start in early November. Each participating park will conduct reduction hunts four to 10 days between November and February. The parks will start limiting general public access the evening before each of the efforts and will be fully open the morning after each reduction.

Park Dates – Potato Creek, November 8/9 and 22/23, Restricted; Ouabache, November 29, December 6, 13, 17, Closed; Chain O’ Lakes, November 18/19 and December 1/2, Closed; Whitewater Memorial, November 24, 27, December 1, 4, 8, 15, Restricted; Shakamak, December 11/12, 18/19, January 8/9, February 5/6, 12/13, Closed; Lincoln, January 10/11 and 24/25, Closed.

An advanced drawing has selected participants who can bring up to three non-registered fellow participants  along. A standby drawing for Indiana residents who are 18 and older by Nov. 8 will take place each morning of the hunts 90 minutes before local sunrise to fill spots still remaining vacant. Group sizes are limited to four individuals. All state and federal laws regarding waterfowl hunting apply. State and federal waterfowl stamps, state hunting license, and HIP number are required for any participant to be eligible. Apprentice licenses are not applicable. Questions regarding the standby drawing can be directed to the park of interest.

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