Jail possible for 2 who ran down geese on lake

MIchigan DNR, Canada geese, Mona Lake
Video taken by a witness shows two people on personal watercraft running down Canada geese on Mona Lake on July 10, 2017.

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released video of two personal watercraft operators harassing a flock of Canada geese on Mona Lake in Norton Shores. One of the fowl died as a result.

The incident happened July 10 at about 2 p.m.

“This was no accident,” DNR Lt. Gerald Thayer told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “The witnesses that started videoing saw them actually rounding the geese up in a circular fashion.”

That’s when the witness pressed record. In the video, you can see one of the personal watercraft picking up speed and cutting through the flock.

Witnesses saw at least three injured birds trying to swim away. One was later found dead.

It was cruel, but not unheard of. Thayer says he see them often.

“I supervise an 11-county area and there’s usually two to three cases every year,” he said.

He said that the cases are sometimes the result of ignorance on the part of the PWC driver.

“They thought maybe it was funny. Or every now and then, we’ll get somebody that’s very upset with the geese population on their local lake because they’re messing up their lawns and such,” Thayer said.

The suspects in this situation appear to be Caucasian men. One has long hair. One PWC is purple, an unusual color for that style of watercraft. The other is yellow and white.

If the men are caught, their idea of fun on the water may land them in jail. Under state law, illegally taking waterfowl is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $500.

“There’s also a $500 reimbursement per bird that was killed, which at this point, we have one bird,” Thayer added.

Anyone with information about who the personal watercraft riders are is asked to call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800.292.7800. Anyone who submits a tip that leads to a conviction could be eligible for a reward.