Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Goose gripes: Get ’em out of my campsite!

I like Canada, I just don’t care much for their geese! I understand that Canada geese are unique in many respects: They mate for life; they have at least 13 different calls and begin to communicate with their young even before they hatch from the egg; they’ve been known to travel more than 620 miles in one day. Amazing? Yes. Unique? You bet!

Sharing our campsite with geese

My problem isn’t with all Canada geese. I have an issue with the Canadian geese that have claimed our RV campsite as their personal territory. It isn’t enough that Hubby and I must dodge geese poop as we walk or bike around the park. Nor is it enough to be awakened early each morning to their incessant honking. The geese who claim campsite #34 insist on chasing us every time we try to enter or exit our fifth wheel. And forget about eating at the picnic table!

Dissuading the geese

“Why not chase them off?” you ask. Well, the gander has a six-foot wingspan and looks to easily top ten pounds. His mate isn’t much smaller, but she has anger issues and a similar wingspan. In addition to the size and temperament of the birds, they are protected by the government. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, killing Canadian geese is an offense punishable by fines and/or jail time! (Not that I would kill them. Honest.) Federal law states: “It is illegal to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests in the United States without permission from the U.S. Fish and Wild Service (USFWS).” Do I really want to hunt down a USFWS ranger and obtain permission? Not really.

Humane treatments?

Instead, I’ve done a little research on “humane ways” to deal with the Canada geese. Here’s what I learned:

  • You can purchase a solar-powered device that will emit threatening bird calls for a two-minute duration. The calls are repeated every ten minutes. (What a great way to endear yourself to RV neighbors, huh?)
  • Then there’s the sprinkler head that can be attached to a hose. Its motion-activated blast of water will spray up to 35 feet. (Another way to startle and seriously soak anyone who happens to walk by our RV.)
  • You can purchase a coyote decoy to scare the geese, but $65 seems excessive. I mean, what are the chances we’ll ever need the decoy once we leave this park?

Self-defense from Canada geese

I suppose we’re doomed to rely on The Cincinnati Enquirer’s advice until we break camp for a new locale. The newspaper suggests: “Maintain a neutral demeanor toward the goose. Don’t yell or hit. At the same time, do not cower, hide, or run. If a goose flies up towards your face, then duck or move away at a 90-degree angle to the direction of flight, still facing the attacking goose.” Goodness! I’m going to need some practice before I leave the camper. Let’s see … 90 degrees to the bird’s flight direction…

Don’t you love the RV life?! There’s always an adventure!


Beware! Mirror glaze finish attracts wild birds. They dented and scratched our RV! 

Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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Paul S Goldberg
1 year ago

Many many years ago we were tent camping on the shore of a lake in the Adirondacks. There is nothing quite as thrilling as opening the tent door and looking up at the underside of a bunch of Canada Geese just outside the door. In the Rochester area grounds manager with ponds let the grass an shrubs grow up around the ponds, the geese tend to avoid those areas as they are places for predators to hide.

Randall Rosebrock
1 year ago

While in Toronto for a 2-week work assignment the plant had a geese problem. They solved it by buying fake “dead” molded geese and laid them where the geese congregated. It seems that for some reason geese will not stay where there are dead geese. It worked for the worker’s outside patio where they ate their lunch and took breaks. I would suspect you could try 2, one in front and in the back of your RV.

1 year ago

I’ve dodged a lot more goose poop than dog poo. But they always want you to clean up after your dogs. Who’s in charge of goose poop? We have had trouble with the geese and ducks but I travel with a secret weapon. A 5lb Yorkie lol. She hates anything that comes into our campsite. We’ve been lucky that she hasn’t met her match and they are more scared of her bark than her bite

Thomas D
1 year ago

At my daughter’s cottage we get dowelsl about 2ft long and stretch fishin line along the shoreline. Create a maze of fishline barriers. They cant jump it. They will stay away.

1 year ago

Good article! One point I’d like to update .. Canada geese are not alone in the bird world for lifetime mating. This is also common among pelicans, ravens (most corvids I think), and turkey vultures to name a few of the very many. All of the above are common in the western states but unfortunately also the targets of what I can only believe are animal “thrill killers”, hence the protected status on many of the species.

1 year ago

Cayote’s or alligators or any other plastic animal will not work. If the hen is sitting on an egg, watch out. I have had a family of 10 show up on my lot lately and I go out with a large golf club in my hand and kindly ask them to leave. so they stay away for a week or so and then come back and I just have another chat with them and they leave.

1 year ago

Around here geese can sometimes be a problem at farms or parks. They are not Canada geese, just your regular garden variety. If you reach in and grab them around the neck it scares them and they leave you alone.

Mark K
1 year ago

Our dog hasn’t learned how to read yet so he hasn’t read the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, he loves to chase them and actually leapt in the air to catch one as it took off. I yelled at him to drop it and he did and the goose left never to return (as well as his/her mates).

Sharon L Boehmer
1 year ago

I used to love to watch them, still do, until we were at a site 2 spots from the swim beach. One afternoon a flock of about 40 came in for a landing at the swim area, it was fun to watch them land in the water, bath and play. The next morning the beach was a mess, even the water was a mess, poop, feathers, scum everywhere. Now I just wanted them to leave and I felt sorry for the camp hosts who had to clean it all up. One of them told me the birds do this a couple times a month from another part of the lake, so they clean it up a couple of times a month. She said it was listed under misc. duties as needed.

1 year ago

Let us know how that 90 degree move works out for ya.

Astrid Bierworth
1 year ago

We live in Canada and hate them as much as you do. I don’t understand why they are protected! There are way too many of them.

Some people use dogs to chase them off. Once a year (normal year) we attend a music festival. We are camped near a river and there are lots of geese. I bought a poop scooper from Amazon. It’s a little rake on a long handle. (We don’t have a dog). I go around with a pail that has a small garbage bag in it and collect all the goose poop when we arrive and collect more as the week goes on.

1 year ago

hmmm….would the campground not help you by moving you to a different site?

Bob p
1 year ago
Reply to  littleleftie

Probably not interested in moving, just complaining.

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

No other sites available. But we’ve moved on so no worries….just memories.

Jamie S
1 year ago
Reply to  Gail

That was such a nice response to a rather harsh comment. Good on you! We camped on a beautiful lake in Illinois. I counted 61 Canada geese in our site. We did a lot of poop scooping.

1 year ago
Reply to  littleleftie

And if they’re wandering around one site, I can guarantee, they’re on the other sites, too.

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