Tag Archives: snow geese

Snow geese: Flaps down, coming in!

Flaps and feet coming down, this group of spring snows likes what they’re seeing. Good things are about to happen!  Check out the goose with the messed up primary in this group, no doubt a battle tested migrator. You can also see they’re all looking hard at the spread – their heads turned in different directions as they check everything out. No doubt, it’s not easy  tricking these guys during the spring hunt after thy’ve been hunted for 6 months, and that’s why it’s so rewarding to see them commit like this. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

flock of snow geese

Snow geese on final approach to the spread.

Snow Goose Hunting with SoftShell Decoys

Over the past few months I have come to the realization that I’m not a very good photographer/videographer. It’s more difficult than I imagined, mainly because I don’t take the time to set up my shots and locations properly. I have great intentions but as soon as I hear wings ripping the morning sky or the far off call of a goose I am done! My priorities are a little off, so to speak. I like to have a shotgun in my hands instead of a camera- but I’m learning.

The following video is my initial attempt at putting together a promotional video for SoftShell Decoys. The first part of the video is a snow goose hunt filmed in a pea field with my dad Dave, brother Dan and friend/local farmer Doug. We used just 350 SoftShell snow goose decoys for the hunt. The wind was howling, steady 30-35 mph with gusts up to 45-50 mph!  It was a great hunt, the video doesn’t really do it justice. I tried to set up the camera behind the shooters on a tripod but the wind kept tipping it over. Most of the shots the guys took started at 15-20 yards, and with the high winds the birds would flare and rocket out of the spread in seconds- it was great fun to watch.

I think the next thing I need to do is sink some money into a decent camera, like the Sony my friend Jeremy suggested. Any other suggestions on camera/video gear would be appreciated! Thanks for watching and all the support I’ve already had for SoftShell Decoys.

Scouting: Setting up the hunt

snow geese

Snow geese leaving the roost, this is a good place to start.

Scouting and setting up a waterfowl field hunt for the next day can be a time consuming grind at times- hours of driving dirt roads, looking through binoculars while following flocks of ducks and geese from the roost, and finding land owners that are busy with harvest and farm work. Some days it’s easy and we find the field we want right away. However it turns out, it’s the necessary effort we put in to ensure a quality hunt for the next day.

snow geese

Snow geese in the field, this is the spot!

We look at many fields, judging each by the number and species of birds using them, the type of cover and food in the field, the proximity of the field to the roost, wind direction, access, everything! Everything must be taken into account; you can’t take this part of the hunt for granted or try to shortcut it, you’ll surely get burned the next day by something you’ve overlooked.

What is our ideal field you may ask? Good cover (high stubble, corn is the best) we can stuff our blinds with, dry, untilled, easy access, loaded with the birds we are chasing for that particular hunt (darks, whites, or ducks), and at least a mile from the roost. If all of these variables come together for us the next day we are probably going to have a good hunt. When you lock up one of these fields that has all of the right variables coming together it makes it tough to sleep the night before the hunt!

snow goose, blue goose, Ross's goose

A sample of the results: snow goose, blue goose, Ross's goose.

White on!

Wile E. Coyote with a collared Ross's Goose

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Status of Waterfowl, 2011 report is out. As reported earlier, the overall duck population numbers look great for the upcoming waterfowl season. The different geese population numbers are included in this report, too. Hunting season recommendation also take this report into consideration.

The highlight of the survey for waterfowl hunters, and particularly goose hunters, has to be the increase in the mid-continent light goose population.  From the report,  “During the 2011 MWS, biologists counted 3,175,200 light geese, 19% more than in 2010. ” If I am reading this correctly, the following graph indicates that this population is at an all time high. If you follow the link to the report, you will see the distribution of the mid-continent population and the flyways they use.

It looks like it should be a great season to chase white geese, especially in the central and Mississippi flyways.

Season length and limit recommendations have been made by the USFWS  as well, and we should know soon when the hunting seasons start in each state. The report shows overall population statistics for ducks and geese fall into the liberal limit and season length categories, great news for us- not so much for our wives. The 2011-12 waterfowl season is really shaping up nicely,  now if we can only get the weather and birds to cooperate!


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