Many hunters south of Interstate 70 have grown concerned by the early passage of snow geese…don’t be! There are more than plenty still hanging well south. While there may be a gap in parts of the migration, don’t think that the leading edge is all of them. In the coming weeks, each warmup and cool down will have the back half of the migration yo-yoing back and forth as they make their way to the breeding grounds.
The leading edge of the snow goose migration has pushed into Nebraska. Loess Bluffs, formerly Squaw Creek, is holding over 150,000 snow geese with many more in the general area. Big concentrations continue on south and east from there into the I70 corridor. Below that is where things get spotty. The southern third of Illinois is shooting geese on flight days, but aren’t holding many snow geese on a day to day basis. Plenty of snow geese are being reported in the southeast Missouri and on south well into Arkansas.
Since the Missouri conservation season doesn’t open until today, it’s possible that birds coming out of Arkansas into the Bootheel have enjoyed limited pressure and are reluctant to leave. This could be an explanation for the spotty reports in the southern third of Illinois. It could also simply be a gap between older and younger birds. The leading edge from I70 north is going to continue to push as far as they can as fast as possible. While the younger birds to the south will likely take their time and move into the same parts of the country the same time of the year as usual.
As for our conservation season, we kicked it off with Willow Creek Waterfowl in Illinois and have had some incredible hunts! A good number of snow geese are staging in this area with new geese arriving almost daily. The 10am to 2pm timeframe has provided some incredible migrating flocks. In the down time between flocks, it’s nice to enjoy the comfort of a heated 40 foot pit complete with a stove!
The Week Ahead
A small clipper will move through Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois during the middle of the week. At this time, it doesn’t look to drop much in the way of snow, but temperatures will fall back below normal for a couple days. A few birds might get bumped south out of where the snow falls, but with only minor accumulations, the bulk will stay put. After that, the warmup begins in the plains on Friday and pushes further east into Arkansas, eastern Missouri, and Illinois by late Friday and into Saturday. Temperatures should exceed 60 degrees and possibly even 70 across, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. This warmup courtesy of a good south wind and we all know what that means this time of year!