Friday, June 19, 2015
Back a number of years ago when I became interested in starting a goose control company I had the pleasure of being introduced to Pete Rizzo of Hudson Valley Wild Goose Chasers out of New Jersey. Pete was very generous with his time and spent a lot of time explaining the business side of things to me. When it came time to discuss the goose control side of things he talked to me about work ethic and effort.
This seemed like common sense to me. However, Pete drove this thought home with both passion and warning. The phrase that stood out the most to me was "Goose Control is a war of attrition, and I always win". Not until I secured my first account did I actually know what he meant. Our initial account had a large goose problem. Geese droppings surrounded this upscale retirement/assisted living complex. The property is about 10 acres with a pond, several buildings and next to a high school soccer and baseball field.
Putting predatory pressure on geese with a dog is relatively easy. We give our dogs a command, they run out to the geese and return when they fly off. However, geese are not dumb. They are actually very smart. It is not easy to predict what they will do. They will test a dog to see how far he will run and how persistent he is. Sometimes geese will only fly about 25 yards away and wait to see if the dog continues the chase. In large open areas I have seen geese do this 3 to 4 times before they finally get the message and leave the area completely. Geese will also fly, or if close, run to the nearest body of water for safety. Depending on the size of the body of water, we can employ several different tactics. Our options are swim dogs, RC Boats, John boats, Bird Bangers and high powered lasers. Geese will then fly or move from one side of a lake to the other and back again. Hence the chasing part of the business.
It is up to the handler to properly direct the dog and use his or her other goose control methods to convince the geese they should go elsewhere. This quite frequently takes 5 minutes or in some cases 50 minutes. This is where the "war of attrition" comes in to play. This is where we have set ourselves apart from other goose control companies.
This year we were hired to take over an account from a large goose control chain. The reason the Park District decided to look elsewhere was because there were 20 geese this company could not get rid of even though they had addled 6 to 8 nests every year and hazed geese every day. This is a 15 acre lake with 40 homes around it.
Surveying the area for bidding purposes, we found a lot of goose droppings, ALL OVER! In yards, on the beach, on piers, on a basketball court and on paths. It looked like they had no goose control. Yet they were paying a very reputable company good money for a service and not getting a whole lot in return.
These geese were making themselves at home.( pictured below)
After sharing our references with the Park District and our pricing, they took a chance on us because and I quote " Things are getting pretty stale with this other company and we are not seeing the results."
It took us about a week to get rid of most of the geese. Then, another week to convince the others it was time to go. It took a lot of effort and work in those two weeks. We chased geese from bank to bank, from beach to yard and back again. We chased in the morning we chased in the afternoon and we chased them at night. We chased these stubborn geese with RC boats, with our dogs swimming after them, with dogs running after them and staring them down. It was a "war of attrition" we did not and would not lose. (Thanks Pete!)
Through the spring we were complimented on our work by many residents. We heard comments like, "Best ever", "What did you do with the Geese?", " You are doing a good job". We would occasionally even get the Thumbs Up by passersby.
Not long after servicing the account, I saw an ad for one of these high volume goose control companies for help. The ad requested people who had good driving records and loved working with animals. Really? Both are necessary but how about employees who have a good work ethic, are self driven, know how to work a dog, have a desire to reduce human and wildlife conflicts, and do not like to lose. I think this is where we shine. We work and work hard with our dogs. Higher volume goose control companies set up people that have good driving records with a dog and instruct them to visit a lot of accounts every day. This is why we won this account and will continue to win more. It is a war of attrition, we will not lose! We take the time to service accounts properly because we are not on a time schedule and take it personally when geese show up on one of our accounts. Our hard work, CERTIFIED Goose Management training at the National Wildlife Control Operators Association and our love of what we do with our Australian Shepherds sets us apart.
One other thing, our goose control methods were so effective we did not have to addle any eggs or destroy any nests. The geese found out that our handlers and dogs would not quit until they left for good. For 6 to 8 pairs of geese to nest there year after year previously, they had to feel pretty comfortable that the lake they chose was a nice safe place to raise their young. Not any more. This community will be enjoying a goose free summer thanks to the efforts of Rescue Me Goose Chasing, Canine Goose Control. We Get Rid of Geese . . . FAST!