row2k Features
Rowing Hack: The Goose Guy
March 10, 2021
John FX Flynn

If you are a dedicated Hack Reader, you know the Rowing Hackers have a few pet peeves that they try to solve with clever tricks, but nothing gets under our skin like the geese that get on our docks. So at the risk of beating a dead, well, goose, here is yet another way to scare off hose scourges of clean, poop-free docks everywhere: The Goose Guy.

That's right, the heck with buckets, goose rope, and cinder blocks: just get yourself an inflatable air dancer/tube man - yep, just like the used car lot down the street - and make those darn geese so unhappy and bothered that they leave your dock alone for good.

Those of you who've been to a certain upstate New York rowing paradise have probably seen this goose doll in action and, goofy as it might look, it does its job humanely and well. After all, what the geese really love about your dock, besides its lowness and accessibility from the water on which they prefer to "land," is its emptiness. That's the reason they perch on--and poop all over--the farthest end of the dock from the boathouse. If you can ruin that oasis for them, you get your clean dock back.

It's as simple as the look on Goose Guy's face: he spoils the geese's party by throwing one of his own, and the flappy, unpredictable movements are just annoying enough that you can turn the tables on the geese and shoo them away.

Now, it is true that Goose Guy is not at all terrifying to birds with a bit more, well, stature: as you can see in our photo, this heron seems to think he's just fine to cozy up to...or maybe herons just prefer a good clean dock as much as we do. Either way, we'd take a solitary heron over a flock of geese or seagulls pretty much any day, so maybe this is all really about making your dock heron-friendly.

A few pro tips from the master who dreamed this one up: use a timer to up the randomness of when the party starts and ends. If he dances all the time, Goose Guy will just wind up making friends as the geese habituate themselves to him, so avoid having him on constantly. It also helps to move the whole party from time to time, shifting Goose Guy to a new section of dock every once and while to really keep those geese guessing. And the last pro tip? Definitely buy your Goose Guy in school colors: Cornell's Goose Guy isn't both Big and Red by accident, Hack fans.

The other thing we really admire about this hack--apart from the pure fun factor of having Goose Guy bopping around out there--is that the air dancer deflates in a heartbeat when it is time to row: no moving buckets or taking the goose line down before you can launch...and, even more important, no anti-goose measures to forget to put back in place after practice. As we all know, the geese are just waiting for that fateful day when you forget to defend your territory, and they only need a few minutes of R&R to ruin your dock and your day.

As you know by now, we love a good goose-foiling method, so if you have a great way to beat the geese back, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

During these unprecendented times, row2k is working hard to keep rowing coming to you; please help us keeping it coming by supporting our work!


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