Snow goose hunting is some of the toughest waterfowl hunting there is. Just because there are hundreds of thousands of them doesn’t make them easier to hunt. The can provide both frustration and jubilation. It requires careful planning, attention to details, and lots of energy.

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 26, 2016

The warmup last weekend made for a big northward push in the snow goose migration. Snow and ice line pushing adults covered a lot of ground and the younger non-breeding snow geese are slowly making their way north well behind the older class birds.

Record high temperatures last weekend sent many geese in the Central Flyway well into Nebraska and very near the South Dakota border. This week, geese have been trickling into South Dakota where hunt able numbers can be found, but hunt at your own risk. These are the leading edge geese that are 10+ years old and have seen it all. Successfully decoying them is the greatest challenge in waterfowl hunting. Bigger numbers of geese are currently back into Nebraska, southwest Iowa, and down into Squaw Creek. The latest survey (2/24/16) from Squaw showed over a half million geese currently on the refuge. With open water everywhere else in the area, it’s safe to say there is well over a million geese currently staging in northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas, southeast Nebraska, and southwest Iowa. The number of geese currently in the area might be at it’s peak for the year with no snow or ice to block to the north for now. Snow geese seem to be hitting the area for a couple days then continuing on their way north. There are still a good number of geese that will cut west out of Illinois to head to the Squaw Creek area, but many birds that are currently at Squaw will make their next move this weekend with the warm weather in the forecast.

In the Mississippi Flyway, a huge push of geese north happened late last week and weekend. When the dust settled this week, the backend of large numbers of geese pushed into central Illinois leaving the southern half of the state down into the Bootheel of Missouri, and Arkansas with random pockets of younger geese. They’re hit and miss, but where they can be found, good success is happening. For those waiting on these pockets of geese to move north, it’s a waiting game. While the adult snow geese will migrate at just about any time with decent weather, the younger geese tend to take advantage of the warmth and good south winds. With the weekend and early next week forecast, a good push of younger birds could take place in the next 4 or 5 days out of Arkansas and into southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. Temperatures will climb well above normal and are prime for a juvenile snow goose push. At this point in the migration, a flight day of young geese might not mean seeing 30+ flocks in a day, especially with the reports of a lack luster hatch, but seeing a dozen flocks of young geese in a day might mean you shoot into 10 of them. The number of geese seen will be well below numbers when hunting the leading edge, but the percentage of flocks you shoot into will skyrocket.

Willow Creek Waterfowl

“Low numbers turned into no numbers the middle of this week, but mid-morning today (2/26), new flocks started pushing in from the south. We’ve had a great hunt so far today and things should only continue with the warmth and wind this weekend. Good luck everyone” – Sean Herrick Willow Creek Waterfowl

The Week Ahead

Warm weather will be the rule this weekend and into early next week. The next meaningful storm across the country looks to arrive around Tuesday. It’s anyones guess as to what it will bring. Right now there appears to be snow somewhere along the I80 corridor. As with any forecast, it’s all subject to change at a moments notice. If snowfall were to drop along this corridor, it will likely force geese south out of Nebraska, South Dakota, and western Iowa because of covered food sources and the cold air behind the system. The weekend warmup could lead to the front edge of the snow goose migration knocking on the North Dakota border. If this happens, some geese might get stuck north of the snow line.

2015-2016 Sizzle Reel

El Nino…..what else is there to say that sums up the 2015-2016 waterfowl season? We’ve never worked harder, covered more miles, or shot more birds than we did this past year. Here’s a short peak into our season.

Be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube to receive all the latest episodes which will begin March 7!

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 12, 2016

The snow goose migration has stalled as cold air has settled in across a large portion of the midwest, but geese have slowly been trickling north in the Central Flyway. A couple weather systems are forecasted in the next three days, but a warmup will quickly follow next week and put the snow goose migration back in full gear.

Locations in eastern Missouri and Illinois haven’t seen temperatures above freezing the entire week and have been plagued by north winds. Some geese have held, while others have drifted back south. Many ponds and other shallow water areas are now frozen and will continue to freeze as some of the coldest air of the winter arrives tonight and tomorrow which will likely send many more geese headed south. A decent snow will fall north of I70 in Illinois which will further give geese reason to leave. Temperatures will even struggle to climb above freezing as far south as central Arkansas on Saturday and some areas have a chance at wintery precipitation. There are still large numbers of geese staging along the Illinois River in central Illinois and those concentrations extend back down into southern Illinois. Below that, numbers are scattered. This area seems to be the transition between leading edge adults and the flocks with younger geese in them. The southern tip of Illinois on into northeast Arkansas has been hit and miss the past week. The cold weather hasn’t helped things, but many areas aren’t even holding their usual numbers of geese. Further south into central and southern Arkansas, there is a secondary push of geese currently staging. With this large number of geese, next week should bring much better hunting for areas in northeast Arkansas and the Bootheel of Missouri. These are the flocks of geese many hunters have been waiting for!

In the central Flyway, geese have continued to trickle north the past few days. There is a distinct difference in the weather pattern between Kansas and Illinois. Much of the week, areas in the west have been 10-20 degrees warmer than the east and that pattern will continue into the weekend before the weather pattern changes. As of Tuesday, Squaw Creek was holding approximately 400,000 snow geese and the refuge was only 15% frozen. Since then, much of the refuge has locked up, but many geese still remain in the area. The number of birds in this area will likely sky rocket as we move through next week. For now, the blocking snow line is still in place in eastern Nebraska, but it won’t take long to disappear as the weather pattern changes next week.

The Week Ahead

While the eastern half of the snow goose migration is going to warm up next week, it’ll continue to be warmer in the west. Geese should make their northward jump a little quicker out west than in Arkanas, Illinois, and eastern Missouri. Temperatures are forecasted to move toward more normal and then above normal by the middle of next week. Ushering in this warmup will be a southerly flow across most areas that will lead to snow geese returning on their northward push. Some of the best hunting of the season should be in store by the middle of next week into next weekend!

Be sure to check out our 2015/2016 Sizzle Reel for a look into what’s to come in Fowled Reality Season 5!

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 5, 2016

The winter storm early this week left behind a large block that will hold the snow goose migration from moving further north than southeast Nebraska and northwest Missouri for the time being. This is where the leading edge will continue to stack up over the next week. Numbers shouldn’t build too quickly because of arctic air that is set to plunge into the midwest early next week. Further south, the snow goose migration continues to trickle north with most of the birds running slightly ahead of schedule.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week 6+ inches of snow fell from central Nebraska on up through Wisconsin. Leaving Squaw snow goose migration updateCreek and surrounding areas just tucked under the meaningful snow pack. As of yesterday (2/5) nearly 400,000 snow geese were reported on Squaw Creek, with plenty more in the surrounding area. The one key thing to take away from that report is that 85% of the wetlands are frozen. This number should drop over the weekend, but will increase dramatically by early next week with temperatures not expected to climb above freezing for at least 48 hours. Birds will still have the river with open water, but a lot of shallow water wetlands will freeze over. This could send a few snow geese back south where more open water is available, but without meaningful snow cover, don’t expect a ton of the geese to leave the area. There are still plenty of snows hanging in southern Kansas, southwest Missouri and on down into Oklahoma set to take advantage of the next warmup.

Further east in Illinois, the large scale northward migration of last weekend has come to a halt. Just a few migrating flocks have been reported the past couple days since the front moved through. Large numbers of snow geese are hanging around the Illinois River Valley on down through south central Illinois. Survey numbers from this area show a number well below average, but this is likely due to the timing of the flight. Most geese were out feeding when the plane flew the lakes so only a fraction of the number of birds around were recorded. Numbers at this time of year are below normal in much of Arkansas. There are still plenty of birds to be found, but not like past years. In certain areas, there are lots of snow geese, but in others, they are slim. Many of the flocks that are around have a good number of young birds in them, so hitting the road to find those concentrations has rewards.

 

Snow Goose Migration Update“Good movement monday for the opener has slowed a little, leaving us with mostly adults that now have the program figured out and our lack of wind hasn’t helped matters. There has been enough shooting mid days with the slow trickle of migrators to keep things rolling but nothing to wild on this end of the lake just yet.”

For more information on Willow Creek Waterfowl, click the link to visit them on Facebook. Prices for adults are $200 per gun per day. Prices for children under 16 will be $100 per day with a paid adult. Half of the total price is required when booking to secure dates. Their spread consists of 1500 full body and floater Hard Core Decoys on an awesome water/field setup. Please text or call Sean at 309-238-3381

 

The Week Ahead

A brief warmup ahead of the next front should make for good hunting in a lot of areas this weekend. Low 50’s to 60 degrees will be found south of I70 across the middle of the country. There should be a good northward push these two days before the bottom drops out of the temperature. Monday through Wednesday, the weather should put a halt to much migration progress, but out west in Oklahoma and Kansas temperatures will begin to moderate as we head into the later half of next week. Cross your fingers for sunshine and a good wind this weekend!

Snow Goose Migration Update – February 27th, 2014

Here we are with 1 day left in the month of February are the snow goose migration continues to be bottled up thanks to the winter that will not end. Snow geese made a good move north last week during the first warm up of the season, but winter has returned and the snow goose migration has halted over the past week. In the coming week, we think there will be a migration, but not the one most snow goose hunters are hoping for.

During the middle of last week, temperatures finally climbed well above freezing, melted much of the snow across the middle part of the country, and got snow geese active. They have been spotted as far north as souther Nebraska, Kansas, Squaw Creek, and the Illinois River valley in Illinois. The snow melt led to a lot of ponding of water in open fields and geese took advantage of the mud and open water. As the forecast came to fruition, many outfitters made the jump out of Arkansas to areas around Squaw Creek in preparation for the masses of snow geese to migrate northward. As the snow geese crossed over I70 in Missouri and Illinois then ran into many lakes that were still frozen. We believe this led many of them to turning back around. The power plant lakes north of I70 have snow geese, but there’s only so much room for them. Over the weekend they were able to take advantage of sheet water, but when that water re-froze early this week, many geese had to return south. Many of the geese that made their way to Squaw Creek ended up heading west to open water. The northern extent of substantial open water on an lake is right on I70 in Illinois. Here, substantial amounts of snow geese are staging. The Illinois DNR reported 1.1 million snow geese on Carlyle Lake with well over 100,000 nearby on Keck’s Marsh. A large portion of the snow goose migration is residing in these two locations. The snow goose migration extends south back into Arkansas where good numbers of geese still reside. The warmup last week and weekend had them active and some incredible hunts were reported. Further west, good number of snow geese are central and eastern Kansas. These geese will be able to continue their northward journey sooner than the geese to the easy because of thinner ice cover.

The Week Ahead

It sounds like a broken record, but another arctic front will accompany another snow storm across the nation’s mid-section. Substantial snowfall is forecasted north of I70 from Kansas all the way to Illinois. Just below 70 will be a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain that could extend as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas. Look for most of the geese to return back near their wintering ground as their food sources become snow covered yet again. To compound the problem, low temperatures will likely dip below zero to the north of I70 with teens forecasted into Arkansas. It’s possible the snow goose migration will reset to square one where we started back at the beginning of the month.

Fowled Reality Season 3 will begin this Monday, March 3rd. Be sure to stay tuned to the website and our channel on YouTube for our videos from what has been an incredible season!

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