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Goose Towns

These venues have become a part of America's waterfowling heritage
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Story at a Glance

Towns covered in this feature:

  • Eagle Lake/Katy, Texas
  • Waupun, Wisconsin
  • Olive Branch, Illinois
  • Chestertown/Easton, Maryland
  • The Rest

And from among the rest...

Those historic goose towns featured are not the only municipalities with a goose-hunting pedigree. Not by a long shot. There are many, many others. Here is but a sampling of additional places to get goosed.

Consider Sumner, Missouri, which this fall celebrated its 49th annual Wild Goose Festival. Located near the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, this region has, for decades enjoyed some of the finest goose shooting in the nation. Sumner is the home to "Maxie," a fiberglass Canada goose sculpture that stretches 40 feet tall, boasts a 61-foot wingspan, and weighs more than two tons. And wouldn't you know it, locals call this The Wild Goose Capital of the World.

Or how about Kenmare, North Dakota, which this year hosted its 15th annual Goosefest, a seven-day hunting festival? Up until a few years ago, Kenmare was a traditional stop for up to 400,000 snow geese. Since then, however, mild weather has kept the birds holed up in southern Saskatchewan much later than what had been the norm. Tabbed the Snow Goose Capital of North Dakota, Kenmare's high school mascot is named Honker.

In the Pacific Flyway, don't count out the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) in south-central Washington. Situated at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers, the Tri-Cities region has, since the development of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project more than 40 years ago, developed into a big-time Canada goose wintering site. Up to 300,000 geese will move through the area during migration.
     
(Those seeking more information on the Easton Waterfowl Festival are advised to check the organization's Web site at www.waterfowlfestival.org. Information about the Southern Illinois quota zone can be acquired by calling 1-800-GEESE-99. For information on Horicon Marsh, visit www.horiconmarsh.com. And to learn more about Texas rice country goose hunting, visit  www.eaglelake.com  or www.katy.com.)

Goose Droppings: Looking for a Snow Goose Festival? There's one each year at the Gunnison Bend Reservoir (February/March) near Delta, Utah, and another in Chico, California (January). Aleutian goose fans can watch the birds at the Aleutian Goose Festival (March) in Crescent City, California. And don't forget the Washington Brant Festival at Blaine/Birch Bay (April).

Goose Lost: At one time, there were at least three municipalities known as Goose Creek—one each in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas. Don't bother looking on the map for the Texas version—it disappeared via city consolidation in 1948.

Border Jumping: Quill Lake may be known as the Goose Capital of Saskatchewan, but the province's largest goose monument resides in Kindersley. And it is a far cry from the mammoth 22-foot-tall, 28-foot-high Canada goose sculpture that has been perched in Wawa, Ontario, since 1963.

More Caps: Additional self-appointed titles from the hinterlands include Kirwin Reservoir, the Goose Capital of Kansas, and Lac qui Parle near Watson/Milan, the Goose Capital of Minnesota.

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