Our relationship with Canada geese through history has been a checkered one. In the 1800s, market hunting nearly wiped them out in many points of their range, through greed and the absence of sustainable harvesting practices.

The year 2012 is nearly over and it has been a bountiful one.

Resident geese in the Atlantic Flyway alone had grown from hundreds in the 1970s to more than a million in 2012.

Free from growth hormones, free from antibiotics, humanely harvested in camaraderie of family and good friends; then stuffed and trussed into the oven at Yuletide!

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and Wildlife Management Areas were also established to provide refuge for geese in sensitive overwintering habitat in Nova Scotia and elsewhere across North America.

The Migratory Bird Convention was signed by both countries in 1916 and Canada implemented the Migratory Bird Convention Act in 1917, which prescribed legal seasons, bag limits and parameters for sustainable harvest.

Those seeking the very best for a Christmas meal need look no further.

Geese are a symbol of Canada people, our cheerful, highly social nature, common value for fellowship, family and community; those very qualities that define us and our face to the rest of the world.

Men Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber Brown Australia

Between 1970 and 2005 Canada goose numbers grew from an estimated 1.1 million to more than five million, of which some 3.5 million were resident birds.

Geese are known to carry bacteria and viruses contracted from human waste and other sources that contain E. coli, salmonella, west Nile virus, giardia and influenza.

This expression is derived from the practice of curing a goose, by hanging it for a number of days in a cool place before consuming it in order to tenderize and flavour the meat!

Deliberate releases of Canada geese took place throughout the Maritimes after 1960. Although increases on Prince Edward Island occurred, they were modest in the other provinces until a massive release was undertaken during the mid 1990s in New Brunswick.

When diseased geese move into community fresh water reservoirs, human health risks can become elevated.

Old photos from that period show grocery store fronts and market stalls in Halifax and cities throughout North America laden with geese taken by market hunters for sale in both spring and fall.

The old Christmas adage from the British Isles that life is good and all is well when goose is hanging high suggests that wherever geese abound, prosperity, bounty and celebration of life will surely follow.

The timing of introductions paralleled changes in the agricultural industry that favoured grain production, establishing a new food base while creating an expansion of optimal habitat conducive to rapidly increasing the goose population.

Farmers, who grow corn, grain and promote grassland agriculture, recognize the goose hunter as an important ally helping to control goose numbers sustainably.

With the growing numbers of geese, in recent years many cities and urban centres across North America have had to develop management plans for the birds that include harvest.

Geese had nearly vanished on the migration flyway in eastern North America by the time international co operation between Canada and the United States put an end to market hunting.

In the wake of this dramatic population rise in resident geese, conflicts with humans also increased, including damage to agricultural crops and more worrying, contamination of our drinking water supplies.

In 1918, the United States followed suit with similar legislation.

What could be healthier than a free range, low fat Canada goose?

While the role of Canada geese in spreading these diseases to humans is a public safety concern, their own apparent immunity and ability to develop antibodies rapidly is the subject of fascinating research, findings of which hold promise for curing these very same diseases in humans.

In my house, soon we will be celebrating with friends and family on Christmas day gathered around in the light of a crackling fire with the sweet smells of a well stuffed wild goose wafting from the oven!

Release efforts sometimes used young birds that had a history of captivity and dependence on people, which set the stage Men Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber Brown Australia for an unprecedented population explosion of non migratory, resident geese across most of their range in North America.

For at least a century before, confirmed breeding in Nova Scotia was relatively uncommon.

A resilient symbol of Canada returns from the brink of extinction

From our beginning geese have afforded us the warmth of their feathers and delicious nutritious meat. Pointing across this vast country like an arrow in a great during their spring and fall migration, with distinctive united voice, they continue to bond us together from north to south, east to west, marking the seasons of change.

Most will welcome responsible harvesters on their land who ask permission.

The best goose around here is carefully timed to ensure it is not overcooked and stuffed with wild rice, cranberries, currents, chopped apricots and nuts.