Many conservation seasons have opened up across the country and snow goose hunters in parts of Illinois and Missouri are wondering where the geese are. The continued cold and snowy pattern that has characterized the winter of 2013/2014 has delayed the start of the spring Snow Goose migration. Look for the this slow start to continue as long as the bitter cold and snow continue to stick around.
We spent the last two days of the regular goose season in southern Illinois. Good numbers of snow geese were located south of I64 on Thursday, but quite a few made the next jump north to I70. The fall harvest was above average and there is plenty of waste grain across this area, but the one major component lacking for the return migration of snow geese is available roosting areas. Most water sources remain 99% frozen. What small pockets of open water there are, are stacked with birds. The majority of the geese are roosting on the ice. Most of the snow geese located along I70 and I64 in Illinois are adults pushing against the snow line. They know it’s time to head north, but the weather is limiting them. They will continue to hug the snow line on the return migration. Even with the 3+ inches of snow that fell yesterday, many of these geese could stick around to ride it out.
These are the geese to hunt at your own risk. They’ve seen and heard it all. There are a few juveniles mixed in with them, but not many were noted in the flocks we watched late last week. The more workable groups are in far southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and southward. At this point in the year, northeast Arkansas and the bootheel of Missouri are typically loaded with snow geese. While there are geese around these areas at this time, it is far from the normal numbers. The large concentrations of snows are in southern Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Week Ahead
The forecast calls for very little moderation in temperatures across most of the county. There will be a system move across the south and southern Midwest over the weekend and another early next week. If that forecast holds true. The snow goose migration should remain locked down. There are hints of a weather pattern change mid month. Hopefully that will finally get them kicked into gear!
Here’s a look back at Fowled Reality Season 2 on a day when we shot 100 snow geese.