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.

Waterfowl Migration – February 7, 2012

Waterfowl Migration

Mild weather across much of the Mississippi Flyway sent a waterfowl migration northward this past week.  The snow geese began their northward push to the Arctic Circle and many ducks started moving out of southern parts of the flyway as the temperatures warmed.  The mild weather is now gone and the northward waterfowl migration will likely halt for the time being.  The forecast calls for the cold to stick around for the coming days and there are even talks of snow in the next week.  This could send the snow geese back south if the snow falls in the correct location.  Duck season are closed across the country, but there are still a few late goose seasons that will end shortly. Our waterfowl reports will focus on snow geese for the rest of the season.

 

Snow Goose Migration

Many snow geese were reported to spend their winter in northern parts of Missouri and Illinois.  Luckily there are millions of them and a few hundred thousands that never made it down shouldn't hurt hunter success too much.  The birds that stayed north were likely mostly adults which are tough to kill any ways.  We've had large numbers of snows in central and south central Illinois through the month of January.  The largest concentration of snows began showing the past two weeks.  Many snow goose conservation seasons opened last week and it coincided well with a warm snap that got many snow geese headed north.  The snow goose migration will likely be spread out this year.  Large concentrations of adult birds will travel north as fast as they can until they reach the snow/ice line.

 

 

waterfowl migration

*Courtesy of Nation Snow Anlyses

The younger birds that typically bring up the rear of the migration will trickle north over the course of the next few weeks.  Reports of pockets of juvies are littered throughout Arkansas.  Hunters might not be seeing huge numbers of birds, but what they do see are workable and they're enjoying great success.  Further north, where flocks consist of mostly adult birds, success is sporadic. The snow goose hunting hot spot, Squaw Creek, in northwest Missouri was already holding nearly 400,000 snows at the end of January.

Squaw Creek Waterfowl Survey

*Courtesy of MDC

The Fowled Reality crew scouted central Illinois on January 31st and witnessed huge numbers of snow geese throughout many square miles.  We found the largest group on the ground and got permission for the field to open the conservation snow goose season.  Conditions were tough the first two days with a mix of little wind and foggy mornings.  When the sun shined and the wind blew, the birds worked the best.  We harvested 41 snow geese in three days to start the conservation season.

 

 

waterfowl migration

Time will tell if birds either get pushed back south due to snow and cold or we get enough birds bringing up the rear to warrant the hours of setting a 1000 decoy spread.  The numbers of geese we saw over the course of three days seemed to nearly cut in half each day.  Birds were active early and late in the day.  Through mid day, some large flocks of mile high birds were headed north.  In normal years we can hunt them through February and into early March.  With the weather conditions this year, it will likely be cut short barring a weather change.  If you're located in Missouri and Illinois, now is the time to assemble the spread and turn on the caller.  The migration is on!  And it might not last long.

waterfowl migration

 

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 Migration – January 19, 2011

 

Waterfowl Migration

The midwest is finally experiencing an extended bout of cold weather and with it has come a new waterfowl migration from the north along the Mississippi Flyway.  Unfortunately, for most of us, the new ducks that have arrived do nothing but dreams of next season.  We filmed a bunch of new ducks in central Illinois this past weekend battling blowing snow.  Our main objective up there was to find some of the first migrating Canada geese, but very, very few were to be seen.

 

Duck Migration

Large numbers of mallards were observed in many areas across the state and lucky for the boys in the south zone, they were able to capitalize on the new ducks.  Duck hunting continues to be good with a new waterfowl migration seemingly arriving every few days as each new cold front pushes south.  For those of us in the south central and central zones in Illinois, the ducks are nothing but a tease.  The push of big ducks we needed a month ago has now arrived.  During a typical winter, the north gets snow and we get an extended cold period in late December which would coincide nicely with the ending of those zones.  2011-2012 has been a different beast!

 

 

Goose Migration

The first widespread snowfall across the midwest fell late last week.  Four to six inches of snow was reported across Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  This finally pushed the bulk of the geese out of Wisconsin and into the north zone in Illinois.  Some geese reportedly even made it as far as I-72.  Waterfowl hunters across the state have noticed an increase in the number of geese even in south parts of the state which is due to smaller waters finally freezing and staying frozen forcing the canada geese that call them home to join up with other concentration of geese on larger lakes with open water and power plant cooling lakes.  These conditions did force some geese into new areas where they didn't know the ins and outs only to fall victim to a decoy spread or two.  Now they've joined forces with the locals of these lakes and it'll be the same ol song and dance of flying over spreads and calling without even skipping a wing beat.  It was a sad late January day today when I drove the 30 miles to Cabelas only to see one flock of 10 geese.  This time last year, thousands filled the skies along that same route.

 

Snow Goose Migration

The time is near where we'll bust our the white spread, fight the mud, and blare the speakers!  This screwed up year has put some worry into our snow goose season.  There is said to be a large number of snow geese hanging in north central Illinois.  That means those of us to the south will miss out on hunting them in the spring unless we can get more cold and snow to get them south of here.  However; there are plenty in southern Illinois and on to the south.  The hatch is said to be the best in 5 years which is hard to believe after the number of juveniles witnessed last year.  I will say that when we've drove the refuge at the club, there does seem to be plenty of juveniles sitting in the lake or snacking on grass.  If you haven't checked it out, Blake and Chris have been busy little elves cutting snows and blues out of gas station signs for the reverse waterfowl migration of snows.  Production is almost complete!  Just a few more dozen to go.  Finally price is going to be around $7.50 a dozen!  Should have the finished product posted tomorrow.

 

The latest on the weather for the waterfowl migration.

 

Here to hoping for a last minute blizzard across the midwest that will get southern Illinois (south of I-80) into the waterfowl migration and big numbers of Canada geese to finish up the year!!!

 

 

Waterfowl Migration – January 11, 2012

Cold and Snow to force waterfowl migration south

The forecast calls for a sharp drop in temperatures starting tonight and continuing through the next few days.  We are finally going to get the cold to link up with the moisture and produce snow to get the waterfowl migration in full swing!  Winter weather advisories and winter storm watches have been posted for for parts of Iowa, northern Illinois, and Wisconsin.  Three to eight inches of snow is on the way along with sub-freezing temperatures and 30-40 mph northwest winds.  Sounds like a good recipe for a waterfowl migration!  One to three inches of snow could fall as far south as I-70.

Duck Hunting

The close to the south central waterfowl hunting zone in Illinois passed quietly earlier this week.  It started off very well, but quickly went sour shortly into December.  There are lots of factors that went into it: spring flooding wiping out a lot of moist soil vegetation, lack of long lasting cold and arctic fronts during the season, and the continued shift west of the Mississippi Flyway.  Missouri is doing more for their ducks than Illinois.  Naturally they're figuring out where the most food is and that's where they are going.  With all that being said, all hope is not lost!  We can still hunt ducks in the south zone of Illinois.  An early morning report we received from some friends in southern Illinois is new ducks are already showing up ahead of the latest front.  They've already killed 18 birds by 9AM.  Expect more fresh ducks to continue to show the next few days with a hard freeze and snow coming!

waterfowl migration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goose Hunting

The Fowled Reality crew expects the goose hunting to finally pick up in the coming days.  The same front that has the ducks on the move should get the geese active as well!  There are hit and miss reports of good numbers from I-72 all the way to Illinois/Wisconsin border.  We expect the numbers to increase substantially as the remaining birds in Wisconsin finally get pushed south in the coming days.  The question is, just how far south with the go?  They need open water to roost and an uncovered food source. The forecast looks like they'll have to travel pretty far south to find an open food source and water should start locking up quickly starting tomorrow.

 

Waterfowl Migration

The snow combined with the wind will make scouting throughout the northern 2/3's of Illinois nearly impossible on Thursday, but come Friday it's time to hit the road and see just how far south the honkers are going to travel.  We'll be covering a large area from south of I-70 all the way to I-74 in hopes of finding geese.  With highs Friday in the low to mid 20's, waterfowl will have to be feeding on hot food rather than the subdivisions and lake grass they've been on so far this season.  Combine that with the full moon to look for afternoon feedings.  Water is going to lock up fast and should stay that way for the forseeable future!  Another system is in the cards early next week which should continue to send the waterfowl migratino southward across portions of the Mississippi Flyway.  Good luck this weekend!

 

For waterfowl migration reports from around the country.