When a Canada goose was flying around Noyac last winter with an arrow through its breast, eluding capture by those trying to help it, many assumed that it was cooked.Proving true the adage about assumptions, “Arrow Boy,” as many have affectionately come to call the injured goose, has been spotted alive and well—minus the arrow but now sporting two large battle scars.
When the bird, a federally protected migratory species, was originally discovered in December, Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), predicted that it was suffering and unlikely to live long without being caught and rehabilitated.
Mr. Gross revealed back then that the goose was shot with a target-tip arrow, whereas a true sportsman would have used a more lethal broad-tip arrow, one that would have caused the bird to bleed out quickly.
“This is a horrific act of animal cruelty,” Mr. Gross told The Press in December. “Imagine the pain that this poor bird is in.”
But the goose appears to have persevered, despite the fiberglass accoutrement.
The SPCA, which continues to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the crime, held its last investigation into the case on January 20. Officials were never able to recover the goose either, according to Mr. Gross, and with no suspects or leads, the case fell off the map.
Bette Lou Fletcher, a volunteer with the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays who was personally invested in the case, said they lost track of Arrow Boy in February after setting up “elaborate traps and searching extensively in the area.”
Around late May, Ann Gleason, who lives in the Bay Point community with her husband, Jerry, said she saw Arrow Boy with five goslings, but hadn’t seen him again until about two weeks ago, when the arrow was still in tow.
“He was always pecking at it. He’d get within 8 inches of us, even with his little ones, but wouldn’t let us help him,” Ms. Gleason said. “Sometime between two weeks ago and six days ago, the arrow was removed.
“I don’t know if he finally pecked it out, if he rubbed up against a tree, or what, but it’s gone,” she continued.
In fact, no one seems to know what exactly happened to the arrow—and that list includes SPCA investigators, officials at the wildlife rescue center in Hampton Bays, and the Gleasons, who first spotted the goose and have since had Arrow Boy as a regular visitor to their backyard.
“It’s a mystery,” said Ms. Fletcher, who is convinced someone captured the goose and removed the arrow. “We’re hoping that by publicizing it, someone will come forward and take credit for helping him.”
Although those involved are certain that this goose is the same goose spotted last winter, the shroud of mystery surrounding the unlikely turn of events is thick: No one has definitive proof of identity beyond scars in the same spots where the arrow passed through on each side of the abdomen, and the frequency with which he visits the Gleason home, as Arrow Boy did.
Finally able about to joke about Arrow Boy’s predicament now that there is a happy ending, Ms. Fletcher took a moment to reflect on the appearance of the goose these past few months: “I’ve heard of lady-killer tattoos, but that’s one hell of a body piercing.”