Where have the geese gone in Currituck County?

Photos: Aaron Matthews, Larry Carney/WAVY

CURRITUCK, N.C.(WAVY) — In a North Carolina community, Canada geese usually swarm the parks and ponds. However, several dozen went missing this month. It has some people in the community concerned.

“This isn’t just about me, this is about Currituck County and its heritage as the ‘Land of the Wild Goose,’” outdoorsman Aaron Mathews said.

Mathews is a hunting guide. He knows the habits of the geese of Currituck County. He said the Maple Park pond is popular roosting spot.

“They nest out here,” Mathews pointed. “This is where the goslings came and they raised them.”

In the past, people have seen dozens of geese. But when 10 On Your Side visited the pond on Wednesday, we found one single goose.

“The biggest reason I was going around asking questions is this is my livelihood,” Mathews said. “Where did the geese go?”

Gallery: Geese go missing in Currituck County

Mathews tried to track the dozens of geese.

“Nothing,” he sighed. “We couldn’t find them in any of the marshes any of the coves, I mean we went on sunny days. We went on windy days. Nothing.”

10 On Your Side called Currituck County. Here’s what we found out.

According to a county spokesperson, Maple Park is a popular spot for geese. It’s also right next to the county airport.

The spokesperson said the overpopulation of geese posed a threat to the safety of planes. They often found geese on the runway.

As part of a federal program, the United States Department of Agriculture “removed the geese” from the area and euthanized them.

“This has totally devastated this northern zone, so I have to cut back on how many clients I can take this year,” Mathew said.

He understands if it seems ironic: A hunting guide upset that geese got killed. But Mathews said it’s about more than that.

“It’s just a respect for the nature and the animals and things like that to preserve and protect, not just go and kill everything,” he said.

A spokesperson for USDA said this about the “roundup:”

The roundup was conducted because the geese were living on the airport grounds and posed a significant risk to flight safety. Also, Canada geese would be at the airport year-around posing an aviation safety hazard if they weren’t removed.”