Conservation department looking for wounded goose

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Bill Eddleman says whoever shot and wounded a Canadian goose with an arrow needs to know one thing:

"They're idiots, what can I say?" Eddleman said. "I get bothered when people do stuff like that. The fact that somebody would do something like that is just cruel."

Eddleman, an ornithologist and chairman of the biology department at Southeast Missouri State University, learned Monday that a Canadian goose has been shot by an arrow and survived, even though the arrow remains in the goose's body.

Sightings of the goose have been reported for two months in Fruitland, Gordonville, Cape Girardeau and Jackson, according to Darin Pettit, Missouri Conservation Department agent for Cape Girardeau County. The goose was reported at Bent Creek Golf Course in Jackson last week, he said.

Pettit responds to each call but has been unable to catch the goose so that it can receive medical attention from a veterinarian.

"It keeps flying around and we can't get to it to catch it to get the arrow out of it," Pettit said. "We never know where it's at until we get a call. By the time we get there, it's gone."

Pettit said the arrow must have missed vital organ. Geese go into a flightless period in July after they lose some feathers and Pettit is hoping to catch it then.

A bird being hit with an arrow is rare, Pettit said.

"It's the first time in my 10-year history here to ever have it happen," he said.

Shooting a goose with a bow and arrow is always illegal, he said. Shooting a goose out of season is also a crime, Pettit said. Both are class A misdemeanors. Documenting and proving who did it is probably impossible, he said.

Eddleman said the goose's body could have "healed around" the arrow.

"The body would just wall that off," he said. "Removing the arrow would rewound the goose. On the other hand, I'm sure it's having trouble getting around."

335-6611, extension 137

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