Snow Goose Migration
Today marks the beginning of the conservation snow goose season across many states. Many snow geese started their migration north last week as warm weather settled in across much of the country. This northward push was short lived as a pair of cold fronts swept through the midwest yesterday. Low temperatures across portions of central Illinois and Missouri reached as low as the single digits.
The leading edge of the snow goose migration was across central Missouri and Illinois. We began our scouting on Thursday and found a large concentration of birds in central Illinois. With highs in the 20’s and a 30mph NW wind, they were sticking tight together and feeding all day. As the sun set, many of them headed south rather than to their roosts. Not all of them went south last night. At day break this morning, they grouped back up and wound up in three large feeds across the area. As the day progressed, groups would get up and head south with migrating groups from the north. This continued through the day and numbers have dwindled. Further south in Illinois, there has been reports of southward migrating snow geese. Not exactly the way you would expect to be killing them from, but success is being had.
As temperatures moderate through the weekend and into next week. Look for the birds to begin to trickle back northward. It’s not uncommon for snow geese to bounce fields frequently, but what we have seen in our scouting is they’re doing it more than ever. Birds would not use a field for much more than an hour before moving on. The large groups of birds combined with the lack of food in these parts has them constantly on the move. The early harvest last year followed by rain caused much of the waste grain to germinate. There wasn’t a lot of waste grain there to begin with because of the drought. If you’re looking for the snow goose “X”, don’t waste you time. Find the most used flight lines and setup under them.
The number of snow geese around to start the season isn’t nearly as large as last year when we begin snow goose hunting on opening day of conservation season. The good news is, there are way more birds south of us than at any point in the year last year.