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To say birds are spread out in this snow goose migration update would be an understatement. There are huntable numbers of snow geese from near the Canadian border all the way down into Arkansas. Through that stretch, there are gaps of little to no birds that are leaving hunters asking if the migration is over. For most asking that question, the answer is no it’s not over and Mother Nature is going to do her best to consolidate the snow goose migration over the course of the new few days thanks to a late winter storm set to effect the middle of the country.

Receding snow line the past week.

The multi-day warmup late last week and weekend made for a huge push north in the migration. The leading edge of snow geese moved across I94 in eastern North Dakota. Large numbers of birds continue south from there down to Loess Bluffs (Squaw Creek) in northern Missouri. In their latest survey, 283,000 snow geese were counted on the refuge, with plenty more in the area. South and east of there is where reports get spotty. The stretch of warm weather has the masses of ahead of schedule, but the final wave of the migration is taking it’s sweet time moving north. These geese tend to migrate based on the calendar more so than the weather. They’re going to break free and move into central Illinois and Missouri in the next couple weeks, but until then, expect scattered pushes and hit or miss success. There has been 50+ bird shoots in the Missouri bootheel down to Stuttgart the past few days, while other hunters have seen very few geese.

The Week Ahead

As stated above, Mother Nature is going to do her best to try to shrink the massive amount of ground the migration is scattered across. A snow storm will begin to effect South Dakota and Nebraska late this afternoon and into Friday. A 250+ mile wide swath of 6 to 14 inches of snow will fall from central South Dakota down to Omaha, Nebraska. Snow geese inside this swath will jump back south. Birds north of this are a little more up in the air. Some may make the flight back down, but most will likely get cut off and with little to no snow fall in northeast South Dakota and eastern North Dakota, the need to leave won’t be as high. By the weekend, the area from Omaha down to Loess Bluffs should see a consolidation of snow geese and big numbers will be found there.

Model forecasts for late week winter storm.

Be sure to check out the final episode from this season of Realtree’s “The X” as we kicked off our snow goose season with Willow Creek Waterfowl.