Snow Goose Migration
We are going to go ahead and post the latest snow goose migration update even though new surveys aren't available yet. The incredibly warm weather has the birds in the express lane north. Birds have now crossed into areas of North Dakota and are moving north in a hurry. South Dakota has large numbers of snow geese all across the state as well, and some guys even starting to kill some juvenile birds. If you plan on going there to hunt, you better leave now because it's not going to last long. The forecast for Pierre, SD the next 7 days calls for highs ranging from 65-77. That's unheard of for mid March! Take a look at the snow cover data from the past two years:
Major differences and this explains why the birds are in areas 1-2 weeks earlier than normal. It started all the way back in January when many of the snow geese spent their winter in areas of Illinois and Missouri instead of Arkansas and Louisiana. They had a head start returning north to their summer grounds and now with no snow cover on into Canada, they'll continue their push north in a hurry! If you're planning a trip to the Dakotas I hope it's soon because they'll move through in a hurry with this weather.
Further south, a decent number of birds remains near Squaw Creek. There aren't as many as there has been, but hunters are still enjoying some success. There are even huntable numbers remaining in areas of central and west central Illinois. The predictions of a spread out migration seem to be ringing true. The main masses of birds are long since through these parts of Illinois, but the concentrations of birds remain in select areas. It requires lots of driving to find the birds and you have to go in with the mindset that you will not see a ton, but with limited competition from feeding flocks on the ground you should have some success. One thing that continues to be noted both from reports and what we've been seeing is the lack of large groups of juvenile birds. They are just aren't there this year. The juvies remained mixed in the with the adults birds over the course of the winter and are making their move north with them as well.
Here is some snow goose hunting action from opening day of the conservation order season in Illinois.