Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Golfer clubs Canada goose at St. Charles

Dead bird removed from course

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Wildlife officials are investigating a report a golfer used a club to kill a Canada goose at one of Winnipeg's private courses.

The incident occurred on the August long weekend at St. Charles Country Club.

"Indeed, an alleged incident has been reported that a Canada goose has been killed on the golf course with a golf club," St. Charles general manager Cameron Gray said Tuesday.

"(St. Charles) in no way, shape or form condones such actions."

Gray said no staff member witnessed the incident, but he confirmed "there was a dead bird that was removed."

"In my 20 years, this is the first alleged incident (like this) that has transpired."

Gray said when information of the incident came to light, officials with Manitoba Conservation were notified. He also said the golfer "has, to the best of our knowledge, self-reported and is dealing with (wildlife officials)." He would not say if the golfer was a St. Charles member or guest.

A Manitoba Conservation spokeswoman said allegations of abuse of Canada geese fall under federal wildlife regulations.

Environment Canada wildlife-enforcement officers are looking into the matter. The officers enforce wildlife laws, which protect plant and animal species in Canada, including migratory birds.

"Our investigation is ongoing. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this point," said Mark Johnson, a spokesman with Environment Canada in Gatineau, Que.

Aileen White, the Winnipeg Humane Society's director of communications, said the animal shelter is aware of the incident but will leave the investigation to federal authorities.

Gray said the club prides itself on being a "sanctuary that includes wildlife."

St. Charles is situated near the Assiniboine River and has a few large ponds that attract migratory birds. During the summer months there may be several dozen Canada geese on the course, but in the fall "when flocks are gathering, they are certainly in the hundreds," Gray said.

"Whether it's deer, a variety of birds, foxes... this is a big piece of green space. Our (members) enjoy a variety of wildlife as they co-habitate with them on the golf course," Gray said.

He said St. Charles is recognized as an Audubon sanctuary golf course, meaning it has completed a joint program by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Audubon International that promotes ecologically sound land management and the conservation of natural resources.

The club also has an environmental stewardship committee that meets regularly, he said.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 15, 2012 A4

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