The snow goose migration is one of the longest migrations in terms of distance and time. There are millions of snow geese and they travel in huge flocks making for tough hunting.

Snow Goose Migration Update – March 18, 2016

Much of the leading edge of the snow goose migration has crossed into Canada, but good numbers of geese remain in North Dakota and hunt able numbers remain on south in South Dakota. Pockets of young geese still remain all the way back into southern Illinois as the season nears it’s end.

Geese took advantage of the warmth last weekend and pushed north in big numbers. Many smaller bodies of water began to thaw and the huge concentrations that could be found in the Dakotas thinned out. Some pushed into Canada, while others just found new available open water. There are still big concentrations of geese in the northern part of North Dakota and respectable numbers on south to the South Dakota border. As you move south from there, more road time will be required to find good numbers, but it’s well worth the effort. From Nebraska on back into Illinois, smaller numbers of snow geese still exist. Good hunting can be had if you can find them, but setting up a traffic spread in hopes of getting under a good push of geese would require a bunch of luck!

The Week Ahead

Just when you thought spring was here, Mother Nature changes her mind. A winter like pattern is already asserting itself in the Dakotas today. It will spread east and leave below normal temperatures in it’s wake. By the middle of next week southern Saskatchewan and Alberta could have a decent snow pack. While it might not be enough to send many geese back south into North Dakota, it could definitely send a few and prevent much of a push north this week.

Episode 2 of season 5 is out. Check out a hunt from the “Big Water” of the Atlantic Ocean as we hunt Sea Ducks. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notifications for new episodes which will be released every week!

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Snow Goose Migration Update – March 10, 2016

Last weekend’s warmup arrived as advertised and the snow goose migration made a big jump north. Continued warmth into this past week has only further lead to more snow geese heading north as some of the leading edge of adult snow geese has crossed the border into Canada on their return trip north. Highs well above normal across the Dakotas will continued to push geese further north as we move into next week.

Last week at this time, the bulk of the snow goose migration was sitting in Nebraska, Iowa, and northwest Missouri. The warm and sunny weekend weather made for a mass migration north leaving these areas with only sparse pockets of snow geese now. Squaw Creek went from over a million to just 17,000 geese being reported this week. Hunters in the Dakotas have seen huge flights of birds the past few days, but their numbers will likely be on the decline this weekend as the leading edge continues it’s push north. It seems to be the norm now to have birds stage in the Squaw Creek area with snow and ice to the north, then a big warmup comes and snow geese move through the Dakotas quickly because of the way the weather works out. For now, this seems to be the case again in 2016.

There are still pockets of birds as far south as southern Illinois. Numbers from Squaw Creek over to Illinois are thin so running traffic on birds will be tough, but if you hit the road and locate geese for a hunt, you could have a great shoot. Many are still waiting and wondering on the bigger flocks of juvenile geese. While there has been some sporadic pushes of juvenile snow geese, their numbers haven’t been nearly the same as past years. Were they predominantly mixed in with the adult masses? Have they somehow skirted everyone and there is a motherload sitting somewhere no one has found? Or was it just “one of those years” that snow goose hunters haven’t experienced in some time? We think it’s the last one. There were mixed reports last fall on the 2015 snow goose hatch. A few said success was high, while most painted a much more negative picture. Here’s is one report, “An estimated 3.3 million Mid-continent light geese were observed on the 2015 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey, a nationwide waterfowl survey conducted by each state which occurs each year in early January. This estimate is 14% less than the number observed in 2014, approximately 6% higher than the most recent 10-year average of 3.1 million, and about 57% above the long-term (1970-2014) average of 2.1 million. In 2015, spring was late in the eastern arctic and a period of cool rainy weather hit the central arctic shortly after most snow goose nests began to hatch. Indirect effects of the late spring and inclement weather resulted in very poor production on most major nesting areas and a fall flight containing a below-average proportion of young is expected.” Snow goose production has been prolific the past few years and while their numbers are still well above long-term average, they didn’t increase nearly as much this year as last year. So for those waiting on “the juvies”, don’t expect the same numbers as in past years.

The Week Ahead

Temperatures well into the 60’s and above are in the weekend forecast all the way to the US/Canada border. The weather is prime for birds to continue to push quickly to the north. If you’re headed to the Dakotas to hunt, you better get there quick because geese are in the express lane to Canada.

 

We kicked off Season 5 of Fowled Reality this week with a traffic duck hunt from the grain fields of Canada. Be sure to check it out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notifications for new episodes which will be released every week!

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Snow Goose Migration Update – March 4, 2016

The warmth of last weekend had the snow goose migration headed north in a hurry, but a pair of storms this past week has slowed them down and in some areas sent flocks back south for the time being. Spring really looks to make a lasting appearance over much of the country as we head into next week and the geese will likely respond by making big strides toward the US/Canada border.

Temperatures last weekend warmed well above normal and the leading edge of snow geese pushed well into South Dakota with large numbers all the way back to Squaw Creek. The leading edge was then pushed back south during the middle of the week as snow and cold combined across much of South Dakota. This really stacked up geese across Nebraska and back into northwest Missouri. Squaw Creek reported a half million late last week, but is now over 1 million geese on the refuge with plenty more in surrounding bodies of water. That number will likely decrease as we move into next week, but success rates will increase as the younger age classes of birds begin to move through.

In the Mississippi Flyway, last weekend offered a great combination of sun, warmth, and wind and success was high across much of Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri. There was a large push of younger geese across these areas through Monday, but cooler cloudy weather has prevailed since then and slowed success up. In areas south of I70, snow geese numbers have dwindled this week, but there are still hunt able numbers around.

Willow Creek Waterfowl

 

 

“Things are slowing up a little with the numbers of birds but as usual the youngsters we are seeing are the best working flocks of the year and are keeping our numbers at a respectable level. Good luck everyone!” – Sean Herrick Willow Creek Waterfowl

The Week Ahead

Another weekend warmup is on the way which will make for good push north for the migration. The leading edge should be able to make their way back north to where they were as the snow across South Dakota melts. Temperatures will reach close to 60 degrees on Sunday all the way into North Dakota and the warmth looks to continue for most of the week. Juvenile snow geese will continue to trickle out of Arkansas up through Illinois and Missouri. This looks like the warmest stretch of weather we’ve had all season. Geese will make big jumps north and could be knocking on the Canadian border our next report.

Be sure to visit our YouTube channel or our website next week as we begin season 5 of Fowled Reality. We’re kicking our season off in Alberta for some early season duck hunting.

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 26, 2016

The warmup last weekend made for a big northward push in the snow goose migration. Snow and ice line pushing adults covered a lot of ground and the younger non-breeding snow geese are slowly making their way north well behind the older class birds.

Record high temperatures last weekend sent many geese in the Central Flyway well into Nebraska and very near the South Dakota border. This week, geese have been trickling into South Dakota where hunt able numbers can be found, but hunt at your own risk. These are the leading edge geese that are 10+ years old and have seen it all. Successfully decoying them is the greatest challenge in waterfowl hunting. Bigger numbers of geese are currently back into Nebraska, southwest Iowa, and down into Squaw Creek. The latest survey (2/24/16) from Squaw showed over a half million geese currently on the refuge. With open water everywhere else in the area, it’s safe to say there is well over a million geese currently staging in northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas, southeast Nebraska, and southwest Iowa. The number of geese currently in the area might be at it’s peak for the year with no snow or ice to block to the north for now. Snow geese seem to be hitting the area for a couple days then continuing on their way north. There are still a good number of geese that will cut west out of Illinois to head to the Squaw Creek area, but many birds that are currently at Squaw will make their next move this weekend with the warm weather in the forecast.

In the Mississippi Flyway, a huge push of geese north happened late last week and weekend. When the dust settled this week, the backend of large numbers of geese pushed into central Illinois leaving the southern half of the state down into the Bootheel of Missouri, and Arkansas with random pockets of younger geese. They’re hit and miss, but where they can be found, good success is happening. For those waiting on these pockets of geese to move north, it’s a waiting game. While the adult snow geese will migrate at just about any time with decent weather, the younger geese tend to take advantage of the warmth and good south winds. With the weekend and early next week forecast, a good push of younger birds could take place in the next 4 or 5 days out of Arkansas and into southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. Temperatures will climb well above normal and are prime for a juvenile snow goose push. At this point in the migration, a flight day of young geese might not mean seeing 30+ flocks in a day, especially with the reports of a lack luster hatch, but seeing a dozen flocks of young geese in a day might mean you shoot into 10 of them. The number of geese seen will be well below numbers when hunting the leading edge, but the percentage of flocks you shoot into will skyrocket.

Willow Creek Waterfowl

“Low numbers turned into no numbers the middle of this week, but mid-morning today (2/26), new flocks started pushing in from the south. We’ve had a great hunt so far today and things should only continue with the warmth and wind this weekend. Good luck everyone” – Sean Herrick Willow Creek Waterfowl

The Week Ahead

Warm weather will be the rule this weekend and into early next week. The next meaningful storm across the country looks to arrive around Tuesday. It’s anyones guess as to what it will bring. Right now there appears to be snow somewhere along the I80 corridor. As with any forecast, it’s all subject to change at a moments notice. If snowfall were to drop along this corridor, it will likely force geese south out of Nebraska, South Dakota, and western Iowa because of covered food sources and the cold air behind the system. The weekend warmup could lead to the front edge of the snow goose migration knocking on the North Dakota border. If this happens, some geese might get stuck north of the snow line.

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 17, 2016

The past ten days has been a tale of two flyways. The Central Flyway has experienced normal to above normal temperatures while the Mississippi Flyway has been locked in below normal temperatures. Many days, there was a 15-25 degree temperature difference between the two. This gave a jumpstart to snow geese out west versus birds coming up the Mississippi. In this snow goose migration update, things are finally going to change for hunters in the east!

Snow combined with cold has halted and even delayed the northward push of snow geese in the east. Before the cold, many snow geese had made it as far north as central Illinois with juveniles just starting to filter into southern Illinois and Missouri. This past week sent many geese back south back into the Bootheel and Arkansas. Most all small bodies of water and even shallow areas of large lakes locked up and still remain that way, but relief is on the way. A big warmup began today with 40 degree temperatures reaching as far north as central Illinois for the first time in nearly two weeks. It’ll take a couple days of warmth to thaw a lot of water, but the geese began heading north. Northbound flights of geese started in Arkansas (yes there are still plenty of geese down there) yesterday and the same was noted in Missouri and Illinois today. This will continue for at least the next few days. Clear skies and south winds will combine for what should be the best migration days of the season so far in the Mississippi Flyways.

Willow Creek Waterfowl“Big numbers showed up this a.m. at first light until 1 or so on a big push north. Finally seeing a few youngsters mixed in, we were able to decoy some birds with out any help from sun or wind for a change. Looking forward to the days ahead! Good luck everyone!” ~ Sean Herrick – Willow Creek Waterfowl

Out west, birds have been trickling north for the past week and will continue to do so. A lot of the snow line in Nebraska that we started the season with has receded and good numbers of geese following right behind it. Snow goose numbers at Squaw Creek haven’t been posted for 10 days, but reports from the area say there are plenty of geese in the area and numbers should climb substantially into the weekend. Small pockets of geese remain down into southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas, but south of there snow goose numbers have dwindled.

The Week Ahead

Other than a small weather system in Missouri and Illinois Saturday night, much of the next week looks good across a large section of the middle of the country. Temperatures will reach as high as 60 degrees all the way into Nebraska as we move into the weekend and some record highs may be approached in many areas. If you’re a snow goose hunter from Nebraska, Iowa, and points south, the next few days will be good ones to be in the spread!

Be sure to check out our Sizzle Reel for Season 5 which will begin March 7!

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