A Canada goose impaled by an arrow was found in Noyac on Saturday, and investigators are searching for the person who shot it, as well as a means to catch the bird in order to help it. The Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is also offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.
The bird, a federally protected migratory species, was found walking with its gaggle on the lawn by Sag Harbor Cove off Long Beach Road by Ann Gleason, a resident of the neighboring Bay Point neighborhood who was out feeding the songbirds near sunup on Saturday when she first caught sight of the wounded fowl. An arrow was sticking straight through its body.
“It was disturbing,” Ms. Gleason said. “I saw it immediately and said, ‘Oh my goodness! Not again!’” she said on Monday, referring to two other episodes of impaled wildlife in 2011.
The bird appeared uncomfortable, she said. “He or she was eating and walking and able to fly, but was definitely picking at it a lot with her or his beak.”
The waterfowl was last seen on Sunday, and, despite its movement was suffering and unlikely to live long with the arrow stuck in its body, according to Roy Gross, chief of department for the Suffolk County SPCA.
He said there was a chance it could survive if it could be caught and rehabilitated.
The arrow appears to be a target-tip arrow, which has a pointed piece of metal at one end and is used to shoot targets, Mr. Gross said. It does not appear that it hit any vital organs, but it likely means the bird will suffer a slow death. “This is a horrific act of animal cruelty,” Mr. Gross said. “Imagine the pain that this poor bird is in.”
The SCSPCA has been working with the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons to try to catch the bird and give it the veterinary care it needs.
It is also seeking a net gun to capture the bird before it flies away, Mr. Gross said, adding that his organization would like to buy such a net, but would also welcome a donation of one.
Although he said this weekend that it was illegal to shoot Canada geese with a bow and arrow, Mr. Gross recanted on Monday and said he had been misinformed by the DEC and that it was, in fact, legal.
The $1,000 reward would still likely have been offered, he said, if the shooter was charged with animal cruelty. A true sportsman would have used a more lethal broad-tip arrow that would have caused the bird to bleed out quickly, he said. Also, it is unknown whether the shooter had a valid hunting license, a federal migratory bird stamp required for a federally protected species or whether the arrow was discharged properly, i.e. not within 500 feet of a dwelling, among other restrictions.
According to the DEC, the regular hunting season for Canada geese on eastern Long Island runs from December 2 to January 30. Hunters are to make a reasonable effort to retrieve all killed or crippled birds, and any wounded birds must be immediately killed and included in a hunter’s daily bag.
Anyone with information on the goose or knowing anyone who has a net to catch the bird, is asked to call the SCSPCA at 382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential, authorities said.
“This has really got to stop,” said Ms. Gleason. “A swan, a seagull and now a goose,” she said, referring to a swan impaled with an arrow that was found near Indian Island County Park in Riverhead and a seagull lured with bread and then bludgeoned to death with a rock in Montauk, both in July 2011.