Video: Snow Goose Hunting – The Ultimate Frustration

Snow goose hunting can be frustrating to say the least. Hours of scouting and setup sometimes end up with only a few birds on the ground, but there are days when the stars align and everything comes together. Many times, these days are when you least expect it.

The 2014 spring snow goose migration was riddled with cold weather and snow that left the snow goose migration behind schedule. Since the geese were slow in heading north, many of them took different migration routes than normal. After battling snow geese and the elements in Illinois, we were finally able to catch up with the birds in Nebraska and had a great hunt during a migration day on a day we least expected it.

Snow Goose Migration Update – March 24, 2013

The snow goose migration is about all but wrapped up across Illinois and Missouri, but hunting remains great in areas of South Dakota and Nebraska. Thick snow pack has locked the birds into these locations and they should continue to stage in these areas for the coming week.

There have been a few straggler groups of snow geese reported across west-central Illinois and central Missouri. A few hunters are still hunting and are shooting a birds, but not seeing many throughout the day. What flocks they do see are Snow Goose Migrationwilling to work. Snow geese are still being reported around Squaw Creek, but most outfitters have moved north into South Dakota. The leading edge of the snow goose migration located in South Dakota is stacked up along I-90 as the deeper snow pack is north of there. Juvenile snow geese seem to be mixed in throughout the entire course of the migration. The bounce back created by the snow storm in early February dispersed the younger birds all over. For those in central Missouri that are waiting on the flocks of pure juvenile snow geese, you’ll keep waiting. There will be higher concentrations of young snow geese in flocks toward the end of the migration, but adults as well.

Snow Goose Migration Snow CoverThe weather this week looks to be good after the Midwest snow storm moves out early in the week. The snowfall forecasted should be far enough south to not disturb the snow goose migration in any big way. The weather in South Dakota looks to warm-up as the week continues which should improve the snow goose hunting. Temperatures in the central part of the state will approach 50 degrees by mid-week. There is less snow cover into north-central South Dakota along the Missouri River than there is in the north-east part of the state. Look for the snow geese to continue their northward migration a little quicker up the central part than the eastern part.

Video: Concealment for Duck and Goose Hunting

Duck and Goose Hunting Video

Concealment for Duck and Goose Hunting

For successful Canada, snow goose and duck hunting, hunters must be hidden. It doesn’t matter how many ducks or geese are using a field or pond, concealment for duck and goose hunting is one of the most important factors for success. This week, we take a look at a couple hunts with different outcomes. The first, a snow goose hunt, was from a barley field in central Canada. Thousands of snow geese were using a field with a strip of tall stubble that was perfect for hiding layout blinds. The strip of taller stubble offered an easy way to conceal our layout blinds and with thousands of snow geese using the field we were in it ended as great hunt.

Our second hunt creates the question, do you hunt the “X” with a poor hide or do you go nearby where you can hide and try to pull the birds off their spot? We elected to hunt a small pond that was being used as a mid-day loafing area for a good number of Canada Geese along with a few ducks and snow geese. The drought that effected Canada had dropped the water level on the pond and left a 10-15 yard wide exposed bank with sparse weeds throughout. We had collected bags of barley the day before and covered our blinds with it as well as sprinkled it around our layouts. Was it the right choice? Some say yes, and some say no. It ended up not being a terrible hunt, but it definitely could have been better.




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Snow Goose Migration Update – March 8, 2013

Spring is about to finally show itself and the snow goose migration should push north in a major way over the next week. Snows are already being reported moving north in large numbers. These areas have snow now, but by the end of the weekend, the snow line will recede well to the north.

Snow Goose Migration Snow CoverOver the course of the past week, we’ve seen the bulk of the snow goose migration move from southern Missouri and Illinois into west-central Illinois and northwest Missouri. After being pushed south due to the snow, snow geese are looking to make up for lost time and ground. As of March 4, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge reported just over 275,000, but last night they reported they were over the 1 million mark. Birds are also being reported moving into southeast South Dakota and all over the rainwater basins of Nebraska. The snow line, for now, has a lot of snow geese trapped in central Illinois. There are reports of 6-10 inches of snow still on the ground in the western part of the state. The warm-up this weekend should cut into the snowpack and give the snow geese a chance to continue their trek. Guide services are all over northwest Missouri and they should do well in the coming week to 10 days. With the snow cover fading fast, open ground from Squaw into central South Dakota, and warm temperatures on the way, the snow goose migration should move quickly over the next week. They are behind schedule, they know it, and will be looking to make up for lost time.

With the exception of a weekend storm system that will move across the central US and midwest, temperatures look to be above normal. Typically if you’re experiencing above normal temperatures, that means you have a south wind of some sorts. Areas in South Dakota will even be in the 50’s next week. If you’re a snow goose hunter between I-70 and I-80, it’s time! North of I-80 will be a ton of adults for now, but with the forecast it won’t be long.

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 27, 2013

The snow goose migration has been effected by two of the largest winter storms of the year. Over the past week, areas from Oklahoma to Northern Illinois have been blasted by back-to-back 6 inch snow storms and locations in their path has as much as 16 inches of snow on the ground. The leading edge of the snow goose migration has shifted back to the south for the time being and with the coming forecast, they could be in a holding pattern for the coming week.

The Squaw Creek N.W.R has picked up snow in the past week and seen it’s snow goose count go from over 1 million birds to just over 40,000 snow geese surveyed. The wind that has accompanied the most recent snow storm has left many hilltops in the area with little to no snow. This has allowed some snow geese to remain in the area with access to food sources. In southeast Nebraska, less snow is around, but birds are few and far between. The vast majority of the Squaw Creek birds have migrated south and southeast. Plenty are located along the Missouri River in East-centrall Missouri back through Central Illinois on the edge and on to the south. As usual, they hanging just under the snow line, but these concentrations are mainly adult birds. The juvenile snow geese that everyone loves to hunt are further south into Arkansas. The Illinois DNR surveyed nearly 100,000 snow geese last week, and that number has likely increased over the past few days as more snow fell across West-central Illinois.  Outfitters in the bootheel of Missouri and in Arkansas have reported great success over the past week as the snow goose migration has continued. Hunting the past two years has wrapped up by the end of February across these areas, but this year they’re getting some bonus hunting in.

Snow Goose Migration Snow CoverThe forecast for the coming week calls for below normal temperatures. No real warmup is in the sight and the after effects of the latest storm will keep winds out of the North and Northwest through the weekend. The snow goose migration is now behind schedule which leads everyone wondering how this will effects them. They know where they need to be by when and they could migrate without the aid of warm weather and south winds. The higher sun angle of late winter will aid in snow melt even without temperatures above freezing. With Monday being the warmest day of the forecast period, they could very well make a jump north regardless of wind direction. Northwest Missouri will likely see their snow cover disappear before areas South and Southeast of it which could lead to the snow goose migration jumping over areas across West-central and Central Missouri next week. The hunting across Arkansas, Southern Missouri, and Southern Illinois will likely remain good over the next week when the snow geese begin to trickle back north.