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Video: Scouting For Snow Geese

Snow goose hunting success can come from spending time scouting. You have to know where the snow geese are, where they’re feeding, and how they’re getting there. Even with hours of driving and hundreds of miles, all the scouting doesn’t always pay off. Mother nature heavily dictates the rate of the migration and often times snow geese will fly different routes and feed in different fields on a daily basis. The poor weather and unpredictableness of snow geese left us frustrated during most of our hunts during the conservation season in Illinois. Despite our best efforts to find good fields to snow goose hunt in, the geese always seemed to stay a step ahead of us, but we managed to scratch together a few good hunts.

 

 

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Snow Goose Migration Update – April 8, 2013

Snow Goose Migration

These snow goose migration updates are starting to sound like a broken record! A brief warm-up followed by snow that pushes some snow geese back south while others continue to stage in the same areas. For the fourth or fifth time this spring, a snow storm is taking aim across migration corridors. Many snow geese are currently located across South Dakota and some have begun to push into North Dakota. The brief warm-up late last week and into this past weekend and helped the snow recede further north, but a fresh blanket of the white stuff will soon replace it.

Snow Goose Migration

Snow Goose Hunting

Over the weekend, there were many reports of the snow goose migration beginning to push in North Dakota. Nearly all of South Dakota and nearly a third of North Dakota became free of snow cover and the snow geese are eager to continue their trek north. The series of winter storms that has hit over the past two months has the snow goose migration way behind schedule and the birds know it. They’re taking advantage of every opportunity they can to push north. Instead of staging just under the snow line, a lot of birds this year have been hanging in the southern edge. When the snow has hit and bodies of water have frozen, they’ve pushed to the rivers where they have open water for roosting and they’re feeding on hilltops and south facing slopes that offer less snow cover over food sources. This was first noted during the snow goose migration in mid-February when a snow storm hit Missouri. Instead of the vast majority of snow geese pushing back into the southern part of the state and Arkansas, many birds pushed into the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Even with covered food sources, they rode out the storm by roosting on the open water on and near the rivers and feeding in areas with the least snow cover. This will continue as the snow geese are reluctant to loselatitude in their return trip north.

Weather

Starting on Tuesday, snow will begin falling across areas of southern North Dakota on into central South Dakota. Locations look to pick up as much as a foot of snow. This make for difficult snow goose hunting conditions, but if you’re braving the elements, look for good concentrations of birds along the larger river systems. Field conditions right now are extremely muddy and will only get worse after the next round of snow begins to melt.

Video: Scouting Leads to Successful Snow Goose Hunting

Snow Goose Hunting Video

In snow goose hunting, scouting is very important. Couple it with being hidden and a little bit of luck and you have a recipe for success. We found a large concentration of snow geese using three different roost holes and traveling just a few miles to feed. We decided upon a field that had 10,000+ snow geese feeding in it. This barely field was located between the roosts and other feeding fields. We had the perfect snow goose hunting combination of the “X” field that was in a great flight line.

This goose hunting video showcases a late fall hunt where everything came together. Despite a lack of wind for decoy movement, a combination of scouting and luck allowed us to shoot a 5-man limit of snow geese. When scouting for a snow goose hunt, it’s much more than just looking for birds. Having a successful snow goose hunt requires lots of birds in the area, proper concealment, and scouting. When we are scouting for snows we like to look at the number of juveniles in the flocks, how the birds are setup in the field, and how they’re feeding. Juvenile snow geese are far less educated and are much more likely to decoy. Being able to hunt the field that geese were in is only half the battle. You want your decoys to resemble the flock that was there in order to fool birds into dropping in. You want that field to have a good food source and know that the snow geese felt comfortable in it the day before and know they can get food in it. Put all these pieces to the puzzle together, and you’ve done your homework for what could be a great snow goose hunt!

 

 

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Snow Goose Migration Update – March 16, 2013

After a few days of above normal temperatures over the past week, the central part of the US looks to settle back into a below normal pattern. The snow goose migration has pushed further north over the course of the last 7 days, but they’ve ran into a wall of snow that could take some time to melt away and allow them to continue north.

Snow Goose MigrationWarm weather late last week and weekend spurred a large migration of snow geese to the north in South Dakota. Most of the geese are south of I-90, but all geese in South Dakota are the wise old birds that are tough to hunt. Further south, large concentrations of snow geese can be found in the Rainwater Basins of Nebraska and Squaw Creek in northwest Missouri. Smaller numbers of birds are strung out across other portions of Missouri and back into Illinois. Huntable numbers of snow geese remain in certain areas along the Mississippi River bottoms in western Illinois in areas north of I-72. Further south into southern Illinois, the snow goose migration looks to have came to an end. A few birds are scattered throughout this portion of the state, but not enough to hunt.

The temperatures over the next week look to stay at or below normal. This will limit snow melt across northern South Dakota and North Dakota. The snow goose migration should predominantly hold during the next 7 days. The tail end birds across Illinois could continue their northward push due to the fact that they are behind schedule, but the large concentrations of geese just south of the snow line won’t have much new ground to gain as snow cover will continue to limit their northward push.

Our latest video showcases some hunting action from the snow goose migration back in September. This hunt took place as the snow geese were migrating toward their wintering grounds. We had an excellent hide, which is important when snow goose hunting.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYbYvNLvC4Q[/youtube]

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.