Snow Goose Migration Update – March 3, 2015

Snow Goose Migration

After 3 weeks of winter weather controlling much of the country and the halting the snow goose migration, things will kick into high gear by this weekend and we can all get back to saving the tundra! The combination of the full moon and normal to above normal temperature will have geese making huge strides north as the snow line disappears and snow goose hunters all the way to the Dakotas better be ready because it’s going to be fast and furious.

SnowDepthUp until yesterday, most of the snow goose migration had remained in the same locations as the past couple weeks. In the Central Flyway birds have started their move north with Squaw Creek picking up a lot of geese over the past 48 hours. While birds are currently still located as far south as Texas, in just a few days those numbers will likely disappear as the big refuges in Kansas, Nebraska, and NW Missouri build toward peak numbers.

In the Mississippi Flyway, the geese have yet to start their push north. A deeper snow field basically covers a large chunk north of I70 in Missouri and Illinois with lesser amounts extending all the way to the Arkansas border. Locations in northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky will pick up snowfall from, hopefully, one last snow storm this year. Four to 10 inch accumulations are looking likely across this area, but with the high sun angle of March and the warm-up coming, the snow should disappear quickly opening the flood gates for a migration to the north as early as Friday.

Reports out of Arkansas have the majority of geese south of I40. The snow is going to hold them back for a little bit, but they’re going to push into the snowpack rather than riding just south of it. They’re behind schedule, they know it, and they can also sense the change in the weather. Even with the warmth coming, they’ll likely be 24-36 hours behind the warmup in locations across central Missouri and Illinois. They have a long ways to come to get into these locations, but with good weather and the full moon coming, the snow goose migration will make huge progress starting as early as Friday. The Mississippi Flyway birds are going to remain behind the progress of the Central Flyway geese as they bottle neck near Squaw Creek, but they’re not going to be too far behind.

For snow goose hunters, this is the forecast we’ve all waited for. It’s been three weeks since we’ve all seen a forecast like this coming weekend. Birds will be covering a lot of miles trying to make up for lost time, they’ll be hungry and tired. Let’s cross our fingers for a continued good forecast!


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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.

Waterfowl Migration Update January 10, 2013

Wild swings in temperatures has affected the waterfowl migration over the past week. We’ve gone from inches of snow cover across much of the southern portion of the state, to 60 degrees and sun just days later. Many small waters that were locked up are now thawing out and many ducks and geese have been noted heading back north with warming temperatures across much of the central United States.

Duck Migration

Waterfowl Migration OklahomaMost of the duck hunting zones in Illinois and Missouri are now closed, but many ducks remain. As the season closed in the south-central zone, if you had open water, you were killing ducks. It was a great end to the season for many duck hunters across the area. Further south where the season is still open, many ducks are still around and with the warm weather and thawing ice, many reports of a reverse waterfowl migration are popping up. The bounce back should be short lived as an arctic front and possible winter storm are slated for Sunday. Canada Geese and Snow Geese should follow along with the ducks with the coming weather.

Goose Migration

For the first time in two years, there is a huntable number of Canada Geese across much of central Missouri and Illinois. Not a ton of geese, but enough to mess with if you can find a good concentration. Patterns are tough to get on because of the swings in temperatures, but with sustained cold looking to move in, early next week should provide solid feeding patterns to hunt.Waterfowl Migration Missouri The key is to locate the “X” with the number of geese that are around. Hunting off of the field they’re using might yield a little success, but there isn’t hardly enough geese around to make it worth while.

Snow Goose Migration

With highs nearing 60 yesterday, many snow geese were northbound. Look for that trend to continue tomorrow with highs in the mid 60s and a 15 mph south wind.  Many snow geese will ride the wind and warmth north. Concentrations of snows have been noted across power plant lakes in Illinois, but the bulk of the snow goose migration has moved south of I70 which is good news for the Spring Conservation Season.

Illinois River Waterfowl Migration Survey, Mississippi River, Southern Illinois, Missouri

Waterfowl Migration Update – December 21, 2012

For the first time in what seems like forever a large bowling ball type winter storm has spurred a waterfowl migration across a large chunk of the county. The storm dropped 6+ inches of snow across portions of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin sending waterfowl southward. Even places in northwest Illinois picked up a few inches of wind driven snow. The next storm in the long range is forecasted to hit Christmas day and the day after. If it lines up with where snow has already fallen, look for the waterfowl migration to continue to pickup.

Duck Migration

Early this past week, hunting was slow, but the waterfowl migration began to pickup on Wednesday ahead of the storm. Places like Kansas and Oklahoma began to pickup birds as the system pulled together. On Thursday, the storm continued east and birds began moving out of Iowa and extreme northern Missouri. The 40 mph sustained north wind allowed them to hightail it south. With the storm now to the east, reports of southward moving waterfowl have continued today. Some Waterfowl Migrationbirds held tight yesterday in the wind and snow, but the sunny skies and north wind today have them on the move across Missouri and Illinois. The snow and freeze line birds have finally been forced to move. Areas north of a line from Kansas City, MO to Peoria, IL are not forecasted to get above freezing for the next 7 days. Water should continue to freeze and ducks should continue to migrate south over the coming days. The majority of the birds around in Illinois and Missouri are Mallards with a few puddle ducks and divers in the mix.

Only the Illinois and Mississippi River waterfowl surveys have been posted for Illinois.

Mississippi River Waterfowl Migration Survey, Illinois River, and Missouri

Goose Migration

The arrival of sustained cold weather and snow should begin to force Canada geese to migrate along with the ducks. It’s going to take more weather than what we’ve had to force them south, but what we have received is a start. Since Canada Geese are tougher than ducks, it’ll take more snow and less open water to really force them south. The weather we have received thus far is probably more winter than most places experienced all of last year. Migrating Canada Geese have been reported across Iowa and northern Illinois in great numbers. Hopefully the next weather system will continue to make them move south.

Snow Goose Migration

The majority of the snow geese have moved into Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and points south. This was about their furthest southward push last year. Unlike last year, when the spring conservation season started with many snow geese north of us, this is starting to look more promising. Good numbers of birds are in Illinois and Missouri if you’re willing to put forth the effort to hunt them without the use of an e-caller.


Waterfowl Migration Update – November 13, 2012

Waterfowl Migration Update

Our season finally opened at home in the south central zone in Illinois. Opening day dawned with a forecasted high of 79 and a 25-30mph south wind. Unfortunately, the weathermen were correct. Hunters across the area experienced mixed results. The managed state areas had some birds and hunters that were drawn early enjoyed some success. A few groups of flight birds began to show up across the area on Sunday as the latest cold front waterfowl migrationapproached. Most areas received at least an inch of rain which helps lessen the remaining effects of the summer drought. The cold front not only brought rain, but also a 25+ degree drop in temperatures and a wind shift to the north. The drop in temps and northerly winds brought with it a good waterfowl migration. Numerous new groups of Pintails, Wigeon, Shovelors, Gadwall, and divers entered southern Illinois. There were even some Mallards beginning to show up. Many think this is the leading edge of greenheads with the best yet to come as winter sets in. There was also an influx of Snow Geese and Specklebellies with the cold front.  We enjoyed a good hunt post coldfront with 7 Mallards, 4 Gadwall, a Wood Duck, and a Wigeon.

The waterfowl surveys for Illinois have been updated and Southern Illinois is loaded with ducks. 185,000 birds have been counted in Southern parts of Illinois as of yesterday. A good portion of them are Mallards. Time will tell if they will stick around or if the lack of water will force them to continue south.

The outlook for the waterfowl migration the rest of the week is not as good as it was early in the week. The weather pattern across the US is going zonal with no large system in sight. Temperatures across a large portion of the country will return to seasonal. The calendar birds will continue to migrate when they always do, but the freeze and snow line birds will likely stay put. Temperatures in Illinois will be in the 50’s for highs and 30’s for lows. The lack of flooded habitat across Illinois and Missouri could lead to the waterfowl migration progressing further south even without a strong front. Waterfowl could continue south until they find the abundant habitat they need.

Southern Illinois Waterfowl MigrationIllinois RiverMississippi River, and Missouri.


Atlantic Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Justin Tackett of KES Waterfowlers

waterfowl migration

“Well, the last day of our middle split in WV did not pan out to well, except for good times with friends.  Hitting a back water expecting Super Storm Sandy to have pushed some more Wood Ducks down, and possibly Mallards did just the opposite.  It was a long morning, just to see 4 Wood Ducks circle once and bug out.  The local geese are starting to get pressured, and going to their safe havens.  With the cold front passing through the hopes of having new birds are better but the down side is seasons out till December.  But what can you do other than keep your fingers crossed that the weather works out for season, or travel?  My trigger finger is getting itchy so I’m thinking travel might be in store.  Knock Em Stiff!”


Central Flyway Waterfowl Migration

Levi Daniel of C&L Outdoors

“Well, it was a tale of two worlds for us this weekend. Saturday it was warm and windy, much of the same from the previous week. Saturday was slow for us, the few birds we had in the area had become stale and we didn’t have any new birds to hunt. Sunday, however, was completely different. Mid-morning, we had a cold front push through that dropped our temps over 20 degrees and brought us some much needed rain.  The rest of the day was full of migrators, with Snows and Specks being heard over head and Mallards starting to show up in the area. Sunday and Monday brought us our first significant push of the year and was hopefully the beginning of a great season.”

private land waterfowl hunting

Bill Witt of Bag’Em Outdoors

decoy bags“Birds are in full swing in southern ND we have been hunting them hard the last couple of weekends, if temps stay up and water stays open hunting should be good for a couple of weeks. If the temp drops and waters close hunting will be done until spring in ND.”