Nisswa firefighters, locals work to rescue injured goose

Nisswa Fire Department gets use of new rescue boat after call of a goose with an injured wing on Bass Lake

Goose Rescue 1.jpg
Nisswa firefighters work to rescue an injured goose on Bass Lake on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
Contributed / Sheila Johnston
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MERRIFIELD — The Nisswa Fire Department had a chance to test out its new rescue boat, and local lake dwellers had the chance to do a good deed for Mother Nature as an injured goose was rescued on Bass Lake near Merrifield on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Events unfolded when Bass Lake resident Judi Laurence noticed a goose behaving strangely.

“There is an entire flock of geese that has spent most of its time on the lake,” Laurence said. “They all flew away, but one was left on the lake. It looked like it had a very obvious injury to its wing.”

Laurence eventually reached out to Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release and was put in touch with Sheila Johnston of that organization, who agreed to provide a net for the rescue.

Goose Rescue 2.jpg
This injured Canada goose was rescued off of Bass Lake on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
Contributed / Sheila Johnston

After that, Laurence reached out to the Nisswa Fire Department.


“I actually have been trained and certified in water rescue for people and animals,” Laurence said. “I’m also a firefighter and EMT with the Mission Fire Department … I called (Nisswa Fire Chief) Shawn Bailey and asked, ‘Do you guys want to do some ice rescue training?’ He got back to me and said he and another firefighter would meet me at our boat launch.”

From there, Bailey and firefighter Josh Waagmeester tested their ice rescue skills.

“We had to break about 30 feet of ice to make a path to launch the boat,” Bailey said. “Then we got out into open water and were able to net the goose … It turned into something big. WRR supplied the net, then two of us went out in the boat.”

Bailey wanted to remind the public not to handle a situation like this themselves, especially in cold water, unless they are trained to do so.

“Report it to the DNR first,” Bailey said. “If it is feasible, we will take it case by case.”

Laurence transported the goose to Wild and Free, the Department of Natural Resources certified wildlife rehabilitation clinic in Garrison. Unfortunately, the goose was deemed malnourished and its injury too severe, and veterinarians decided the bird had to be euthanized.

“It was the best thing for the goose,” Bailey said. “It didn’t get eaten by an eagle or freeze to death.”

Despite the unfortunate outcome, those involved still agree the day was a successful one.


“At the end of the day, it was good training,” Bailey said. “We geared up in our ‘Gumby’ suits and had to break a path for the boat. We went out and rescued it, the new boat worked very well … It was just an all-around good thing.”

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at .

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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