I’m walking across the Callicoon Bridge hoping that a large vehicle doesn’t traverse it at the same time when, not one, but two gigantic buses turn the corner. The bridge shakes, as my …
I’m walking across the Callicoon Bridge hoping that a large vehicle doesn’t traverse it at the same time when, not one, but two gigantic buses turn the corner. The bridge shakes, as my grandmother would say, something awful. The Callicoon Interstate Bridge, like many bridges, is in dire need of repair.
The buses pass and I’ve made it through another horrifying moment, but not quite. As soon as they’re gone, I hear gun shots. Not one, but several.
Pop, pop, pop! That’s what they sound like. I count them, six. The neighbors must be killing themselves. I can only hope the ones I like remain. And then there are more shots. It’s broad daylight and I feel the need to duck.
Peering through the metal railing, I see two men in a boat. What are they shooting at and why?
Both men jump into the water and perform a George Washington cake walk to one of the islands, an island I later find out is privately owned. However, there’s no sign. A few more shots and I see dead geese in the water. The men drag the limp bodies to their boats.
By this time, I’ve made it as far as the river road where a friend happens to be walking her dogs. She’s as freaked out as I am; the dogs are, too. I suggest she quietly take a photo. As soon as she snaps the picture, she yells “what gives you the right to do this?” with a no-nonsense vocal delivery enough to scare off the devil. So much for being quiet.
“The state of New York and the Federal Government,” answers one of the men. In all my years here (over 25), I do not recall anyone shooting anything in the river directly in front of people’s houses. I’ll have to investigate. Good thing I need to go to Callicoon Supply.
Everyone in the hardware store looks like they might know something about hunting. I randomly approach a man who informs me that hunting season on duck and geese has just begun and that he, himself, has a “fowl license”. (Is there a pun here?)
I ask if he would shoot geese a stone’s throw from the Callicoon Bridge and in front of people’s houses. “Only if they’re in the air,” he replies, confusing me, and then he adds, “If you have any concerns, call the Department of Environmental Conservation.”
He doesn’t know he’s talking to Mrs. Columbo.
Earlier in my walk, I happened to see said men unloading their boat. Maybe because their truck was so beat up and I like the shabby look, I had made a mental note of their vehicle and even noticed the first letters of their license plate. But I don’t know anything about hunting laws so I decide to visit the taxidermist.
Lou knows right away when someone does not belong in his shop. That’s me.
“As long as the men are at least 500 feet from a house, they are within the law,” he informs while also mentioning that he probably knows the guys. I look up Environmental Conservation Law, § 11-0307. There’s a lot to read and it’s not easy to understand.
The biggest concern about geese overpopulation is their excrement, which can carry E. coli and salmonella. However, you have to either inhale or ingest it. And if you’re doing that, you might deserve the consequences. It’s said that geese can also have a negative impact on agricultural crops, but I’m not sure why.
The next morning instead of the barking calls of an entire flock, there’s one lone, plaintive cry, and later a funeral procession of sorts; a silent group just drifting upon the water.
Geese, like ducks, mate for life. However, if one member of the pair dies, the other goose usually finds another mate within the same breeding season. A few days later, the happy honking of a new gaggle was present.
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