Utah hunters build nests to help their prey prosper

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DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- Geese hunters in Davis County got a chance to spend the day out on the water, but they didn't bring their shotguns.

Instead they spent the day building bird nests to help protect geese from predators.

Kerry McCloud of The Utah Airboat Association said they agreed to help the Division of Natural Resources re-build 130 nests for geese to lay their eggs in.

"We'll pull out the old straw and then we put in this new salt grass hay, and then we wire it in,” McCloud said. “And then the geese get in there and pick at it and make a nest out of it.”

DNR officials said they see about a 95 percent hatchling success rate when the geese use the man-made nests. Last year, the birds filled up nearly all of the nests out in the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.

"When geese choose these nest structures it gets them up above the water so they won't get their nests flooded out, but it also gets them up out of the reach of predators" said Rich Hansen, who is the manager of Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.

The hunters said by encouraging a good habitat, it helps more birds survive, and that usually makes for better hunting in the fall.