Lifestyles

Local Flavour: This goose is cooked

Bryan Mymko, owner of Stillwater Sports in Ladner, holds a snow goose decoy outside his shop. Thousands of the migratory birds spend their winters in the Delta wetlands, much to the joy of local hunters who prize the goose for it
Bryan Mymko, owner of Stillwater Sports in Ladner, holds a snow goose decoy outside his shop. Thousands of the migratory birds spend their winters in the Delta wetlands, much to the joy of local hunters who prize the goose for it's delicious meat.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf

A cooked goose has been traditional holiday fare since the times of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Story.

With the snow goose season open, local hunters once again have this tasty waterfowl in their sights.

Bryan Mymko is the owner of Stillwater Sports in Ladner and outfits hunters from across the province who travel to Delta this time of year to hunt snow geese.

For Mymko, there's simply no comparison in taste between a wild goose and a factory-farmed and processed turkey or chicken.

"These birds live in the wild," he says. "It tastes better and it's better for you. There's no hormones, or anything like that. These birds live a good life in the wild instead of being cooped up in a cage."

Local snow geese spend their summers in Wrangel Island, a nature reserve high in the Siberian Arctic, before migrating south for the winter.

Between the Fraser River and the Skagit River in Washington state, Mymko puts the Wrangel snow geese flock at close to 70,000.

"It could be more," he said.

Recent years have seen the flock's population explode, and in nearby municipalities with far more restrictions on hunting waterfowl, such as Richmond, the geese have become the bane of farmers as they make the fields there their own personal smorgasbord.

Left unchecked, the snow geese population will continue to climb until it reaches a critical mass, at which point food sources become exhausted and disease begins to run rampant.

"Then the population totally collapses," he said. "We don't want that."

Popular spots for bagging birds locally include the south end of Westham Island, Brunswick Point, and outside of the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, said Mymko.

Most of Tsawwassen is restricted to waterfowl hunting, as is most of  Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area.

For more information on local snow geese hunting restrictions and requirements, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/hunting, or call the Corporation of Delta at 604-946-4141.

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