Snow goose hunting is some of the toughest waterfowl hunting there is. Just because there are hundreds of thousands of them doesn’t make them easier to hunt. The can provide both frustration and jubilation. It requires careful planning, attention to details, and lots of energy.

Snow Goose Migration – February 15, 2012

A large portion of the Mississippi Flyway picked up some snow early this week which sent the snow goose migration back south.  A lot of birds had been staging across central parts of Illinois and the famous areas in northwest Missouri.  The recent snow has sent some of those birds packing back south.  However, it won’t be long and they’ll head right back up north with the snow quickly melting off and forecasts calling for temperatures in the upper 40s and 50s across portions of the states. Hunters have been experiencing decent success in these areas.  The theme seems to be they smash them one day, then the birds fly right over the next.  Always the case with snows.  The largest concentrations of birds are the old wise ones which are a pain to decoy. Further south, there are still huntable numbers of snow geese in areas of southern Missouri and Illinois.  There are even plenty to be had down in Arkansas.  While there aren’t huge numbers down there, there are pockets of decent numbers of birds.  Most of these birds are the young ones so success has been great.

The forecast calls for moderating temperatures through the weekend and clear skies.  Look for the birds that traveled south with the snow to turn back around as the weather clears late this week.  The juveniles will continue to trickle north as they always do.  It will take one heck of a snow storm to get the masses of the snow goose migration back south, but snow like we had this past week can always push a good number back.  The further south of I70 you go, the more drive time you are going to have to spend to locate birds.  But, if you find them and do things right, you should have a great hunt!  Need tips, check here for Snow Geese Hunting Tips for Success

 

snow goose migrationRyne traveled to Arkansas last weekend.  He drove hundreds of miles to find snow geese, but it was worth the effort as him and a couple buddies put down 94 birds over the weekend!

Waterfowl Hunting Video-Goose Season Goes Out With a Bang

 

In this waterfowl hunting video we met up with champion goose caller Mike Smothers and some of his buddies in South Central Illinois to end the regular goose season in Illinois.  It was an amazing setup in a slew that had backed up into a field.  The sheet water from the recent rains has 1000s of birds roosted on it.  Ducks, Canada Geese, Specklebellies, and Snow Geese all were spending time on it.  We had a great weekend and put down 22 geese in a day and a half.  Here is a short teaser video from the hunt.  Here's the full waterfowl hunting video.

 

[youtube]http://youtu.be/l8MumrrngNk[/youtube]

 

Snow Goose Hunting Tips For Success

Successful Snow Goose Hunting

The first Spring Snow Goose Hunting conservation order seasons will open in around a week.  For those of us that chase snow geese, we know the battle that is about to insue against mud, hundreds, if not thousands of decoys, and the goose that can be so stupid yet so smart.  It’s an obsession that a lot can’t relate to.  Why spend hours setting up decoys in the mud with the possibility of just shooting a few birds?  It’s about seeing one of the most amazing sights in waterfowl hunting; thousands of birds screaming with wings locked straight up from you.  To get to that point in the hunt, much care and work has to be done.  Here are a few waterfowling tips for increasing your odds this snow goose hunting season.

 

1. Concealment

As with any waterfowl hunting, you have to be hidden.  It’s one thing to fool a flock of 15 ducks or Canada geese, it’s another to stay hidden from hundreds or thousands of snow geese.  In past years, we’ve always used layout blinds.  We pack decoys and fliers around the blinds in order to break up their outline and use as much brush from the field as we can find.  This year, we are going to give white suits a try. Whether it be white tyvek painter suits or white sweatpants and hoodies, wearing white will help you blend in with the decoys.  It may not be as comfortable and warm as a layout blind, but it’ll increase your odds at getting snow geese in close.

 

2. Decoy Setup

We’ve tried every pattern in the book and studied tons of geese feeding in fields.  We feel the best way to arrange your spread is as random as possible.  There’s no one right way to do.  What works today, will not tomorrow.  The only mainstay is having a large concentration of decoys on the upwind side of the spread.  Snow geese are aggressive feeders and are constantly fighting to get to the next available chunk of food.  The thickest group of birds is going to be at the leading edge.  What you do with the rest of the decoys is up to you.  We space some out while we pack others in at random.  String some lines of geese downwind and add a couple small groups off to the sides. You can leave a kill pocket or not.  Most of the time when you see snow geese landing on other snow geese, they find whatever room they can find and drop in wherever or they’ll land ahead of all of them to get to the fresh food.

 

snow goose hunting tips

3. Don’t be Greedy

In our first few years of chasing snow geese, we got mesmerized with the large groups of birds tornadoing down onto our decoy spread only to wait too long and only shoot a couple birds.  We quickly learned to take the first opportunity given.  Chances are, you’re not going to get the entire group in range.  If 6 birds drop out lower then the rest, take them!  Granted, every once in a while it might pay to be patient, but more often than not a couple birds will pick up on something and the rest will follow.  Don’t give them the chance to leave if they’re in range.

 

4. E-caller

The use of electronic calling is allowed during the conservation order seasons.  The most effective e-caller has clear, crisp audio, and multiple speakers.  Arrange the speakers so that the audio covers the entire spread.  Ideally, you have at least 4 speakers where you can point them in all directions increasing your odds of drawing the attention of distant flocks.  In a perfect world, you have more than four allowing you to cover your spread and put a couple pointing up or a separate mp3 player on a couple other speakers allowing you to run a different track.  Snow goose audio track are layered.  Being able to layer a couple layered tracks creates all sorts of different sounds coming from your spread!

 

5. Scouting

We’ve chased the “X” for years only to be burned many times.  Often times, snow geese will not return to the field they were feeding in the prior morning or afternoon.  They feed so aggressively and in such large numbers, they can exhaust a food source very quickly.  What we do it look for the most used flight line or an area with multiple groups on the ground.  They might not return to the same fields, but chances are they’ll be back in the same area.  Being setup in that area will definitely increase you odds of putting down good numbers of snow geese.  If you can’t find multiple groups on the ground, you can at least see where the most geese are flying over.  The more geese you can be under, the more that will make mistakes!

 

snow goose hunting tips

 

It takes an incredible amount of work to be successful in snow goose hunting.  Short nights, ankle deep mud, and having to set 10’s of dozens of decoys deter many from snow goose hunting, but some many of us, it’s the point in the waterfowl season we look forward to the most!


 
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Cheap Snow Goose Decoys Part 2

If you missed the first part of how we are making our own cheap snow goose decoys, here it is.

Three days of working here and there on our homemade silhouettes and the snow goose decoys are finally done! It didn't take too long to complete, but sub freezing temps and wind made it hard to stay with it for long periods of time. All the decoys were cut and needed to be staked in order to paint. We used 1/8 inch cold rolled steel and 12 inch insulation supports from Lowes. The steel is more expensive and offers a little more stability while the supports are cheaper, but are a little more flimsy. Once the snow goose decoys were staked, the yard was filled! A few strange looks from the neighbors later the decoys were finished!

The printed side of the sign was painted with gray primer. It took a couple coats to get it completely covered. After the decoy was covered in gray, it was either a heavy hazing of black for a blue goose decoy, or a couple coats of white for a snow goose decoy. A few were left a smoky gray as a juvenile snow and a few heads were left dark on the blues for juvenile blues.

snow goose decoys

 

The progression of primer coats on the printed side of the sign.  You have to be careful not to spray too much on it to prevent it from running.  This will prevent it from being splotchy at the end.

snow goose decoys

 

Unpainted, primed, blue goose, and snow goose decoys before adding feather detail.

snow goose decoys

 

We didn't paint it completely black, but more of a heavy hazing to leave a little gray through it for blue goose decoys.  Then, paint the head and belly/chest area white and let the white blend into the dark colorings.  We cut a stencil out of leftover corrugated plastic for feather detail.  Using separate stencils on snow geese and blue geese

 

snow goose decoys

The finished product!  In total they run about $6.50 a dozen with the insulation supports as stakes.  Around $9.00 with the cold rolled steel cut as stakes.  I'm sure these prices would be less with better spray painting conditions, but those prices aren't bad compared to $30+ a dozen for other decoys.  Granted, these will only be good for drawing flocks from a distance, but it'll at least grab their attention and get some flocks to us.  We'll soon find out if the time, money and effort was worth it when we roll out the snow goose decoy spread!

Southern Illinois Specklebelly and Snow Goose Hunting

 

Specklebelly and Snow Goose Waterfowl Hunting Video

 

The Fowled Reality crew headed south to meet up with some friends in Southern Illinois this past weekend.  It was the south central zone's last weekend of duck season, but with few ducks around, we decided to pass on hunting at home and head south and do a little specklebelly and snow goose hunting in this waterfowl hunting video..  Our buddies Ryne Wade and Scott Madison located a good bunch of geese using a bean field in an area surrounded by a few refuges and a small roost hole.  They knocked on some doors, found the owner, and were granted permission to hunt the field.  Hunting snow geese with no e-caller during the regular season can be tough, but with a few guys doing some calling, great blind concealment, and correctly placed decoys we were able to have some luck!  The guys put down 12 snows and 12 specks over the course of the weekend in this waterfowl hunting video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trailer from the hunts can be seen here.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5atq5lVSifY[/youtube]

Here is the full waterfowl hunting video.