CRESTVIEW — The Hub City made national headlines nearly five years ago when a woman filmed herself at Twin Hills Park kicking geese in the head as a child chortled in the background. She was later arrested for animal cruelty, but today, the goose-human tension remains.
At least, so it seems based on recent conversations with local residents.
"I think they [geese] are somewhat of a problem because they are so aggressive, much more aggressive than the ducks are," said Bob Kochel, a Crestview resident who took a break from his walk in the park to interview.
"My wife and I come down here often — maybe five times a week — and feed the ducks and I try to stay away from the geese because they hog everything and chase the poor little ducks away."
Jacqueline Jackson, who was playing T-ball with her daughter and grandchildren at Twin Hills Park the day after Thanksgiving, was unfazed by geese at the park.
"As far as geese being able to roam freely in this park area, I don’t see anything wrong with it. If they are not hurting anything, they are not hurting the environment or hurting anybody — why shouldn’t they," said Jackson.
"We have come out here since my girls were little, and they are 10, and we have never had any aggressive incidents with the geese," said Jackson’s daughter, Fonta High. "So I believe that isolated incidents can happen. There are always outliers and I don’t know how many of those there are, but in my experience over the past 10 plus years, we have never had any aggressive incidents."
However, others, like Crestview resident Phillip Estrem, feel that geese can be a threat to humans when they feel "slighted" if they don’t get all the food they want as humans feed a gaggle by the shoreline.
"I don’t know that the geese are a problem; they don’t chase us and stuff like that, but I do know that if people start feeding them or they see people feeding them, then they will come after them and they might get a little aggressive at that point," Estrem said.
"I do know that farm geese will be aggressive. I have been chased by a goose when I was a kid and grew up on my grandfather’s farm and we learned how to respect them and say, ‘okay, stay away from the geese.’"
In response to the question of ‘how to respect a goose,’ Estrem said, "You stay away from them. If you see one of them out there, just let them alone.
"If you want to feed it, you take the chance of having a goose come after you."