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Prime goose weather in our neck of the woods
Marsh Musings
Ornamental geese

It is prime goose weather around the Bottoms and Quivira. Everybody wants some! The driven goose hunters have been at it with a vengeance. Up before daylight, spending an hour or so putting out decoys and setting up blinds and layouts is a LOT of work for a shot at some geese.

I’m a bit surprised at some of the comments related to eating geese. Most people agree that the White Fronted goose is the best table fare, and some people wouldn’t eat a goose on a bet. I have cooked about every kind of goose in our area in about every way I can imagine and if you don’t overcook the bird — they all taste about the same to me. We do stir fry, fajitas, baked, grilled and my new thing is the hot water process with Joule. Lots of different sauces, jams, chutney, and ketchup add to the flavor. I classify ketchup as one of the basic foods. I have found some jalapeno and other spicy ketchup that are really good. Some of the guys hunt geese and don’t eat them. The hunt, perfecting the layout, getting the blind to blend in with the surrounding environment, and calling geese into the set is a rush they can’t resist, and we goose-gobblers have an extra bird or two. I call that a gift. Duane and I have made goose pastrami that is difficult to distinguish from the regular meat. A little bit of horseradish sauce and it is terrific! 

There is a big difference between city geese and our huge flocks out here. Sandra and I spend some time in the city around the Plaza. There is a park on the east side of the Plaza that has a beautiful fountain (Randy and I have some pretty neat night photos of that fountain with colored lights and the Plaza in the background) that attracts city geese. They actually swim in that fountain and eat the grass and such next to the fountain. The goose droppings soil the water and stop a lot of people from using that part of the park. Everybody agrees that it is a mess, and as government business goes—nobody is responsible for discouraging them from hanging out there. I met a professional photographer who was planning a wedding in that park and moved the event to Lawrence due to the mess. I don’t know what kind of droppings Jayhawks leave... .

These geese do have some attractive features. Brush Creek runs along the south side of the Plaza and is a beautiful addition to the area. It also serves as a parking spot for these flocks of geese. There are a couple of little waterfalls and the geese sit and sleep on the edge of those little falls. It honestly is a beautiful sight and lots of people walk both sides of Brush Creek enjoying the view. They are all Canadian Geese, and a few Mallard ducks join in once in a while. There are some Wood Ducks in a park about a mile south of the Plaza, but I have never seen them in this area. There are several hawks in the park, but I have never seen them with a goose. I think they like small birds. It is always fun to take a walk with a camera. They are unashamed about posing for a shot.

You can rest assured — I’m always eager to get back to our neck of the woods!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast.