Goose is recovering after being shot in the head by an arrow

A Canada goose is expected to fully recover after two boys shot the bird through the head with an arrow on July 28 near Plymouth, officials said.

“When they [the Animal Rescue League of Boston] presented the goose to us, he had the shaft of an arrow right through his head,” said Greg Mertz, a veterinarian caring for the goose. “The remarkable thing is the goose was standing, feisty, and could even swallow.”

The goose, a male around one year old, was brought to the New England Wildlife Center about two weeks ago by the Animal Rescue League, where Mertz removed the arrow from the bird. Mertz said he was worried the wound might bleed after he removed the arrow, but it did not.

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“He’s the luckiest goose in the world,” Mertz said. “The arrow passed through the equivalent of his jaw.”

Some minor injuries were discovered to the bird’s jaw bones, but no major brain or nerve damage occurred, Mertz said. The goose has been given antibiotics, and the arrow hole has been covered in gauze. Doctors are hopeful the hole will heal over. The goose could remain in captivity until early September, as doctors continue to monitor its health.

“There is no dramatic injury to him at all, our biggest worry is infection,” Mertz said.

The legal hunting season for geese won’t begin until around late September, making the shooting of the goose illegal, said Marion Larson, chief of information and education at the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Most of the time with geese and waterfowl, firearms are the implement of choice,” Larson said. “But it is legal to hunt geese with archery equipment.”

The two minors that shot the goose were spoken to by Environmental Police about the dangers of bows and arrows, and educated about hunting regulations in the state, said Amy Mahler, spokeswoman for the Environmental Police. They do not face charges.