In the blink an eye, live decoys could no longer
be legally used. What to do with all of them? Some probably continued
to live on the farm, perhaps crossing with domestic varieties until
the wildness in their blood was hardly detectable. Some no doubt ended
up on the dinner table at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
At the meeting of the board of commissioners, October 11, 1935, a resolution
was passed: “RESOLVED that the Nebraska Game Commission will undertake to feed
during the winter of 1935 and 1936 all wild geese and mallard decoys presented
to them by sportsmen, it being understood that such birds are to be released
on game reserves in the State of Nebraska prior to the breeding season in the
spring of 1936.”
Many live decoys were given to game farms, city parks, zoos and other places
that kept birds for public display. Many of the Canada geese used by North Platte
hunters were given to Cody Park in that city, for example. And herein lays the
afterword to the story of live decoys.
By early in the 1900s, the race of large Canada geese, geese that nested in mid-continent
and weighed nine to 14 pounds, was believed to be extinct. In the 1960s, when
biologists began looking for individual “giant” Canadas where did they find them—Cody
Park and places like it in other Great Plains states. From these survivors, state
and federal restoration programs raised and released goslings for more than 20
years, until today they are a self-sustaining population. They are, no doubt,
the descendants of some old hunter’s prize Judas goose.