How many times have you sat in your living room wishing you had one more chance at a trophy? Wishing the season could be just a little bit longer? In most cases this is nothing more than a pipe dream – unless you are a waterfowl hunter. For waterfowl hunters there is one more chance for that trophy and it is called snow goose season.
Snow geese, also known as blue geese, are one of the largest members of the goose family and can be found in pockets throughout North America. With breeding ground in Northern Canada and winter colonies along the Eastern Seaboard, Mississippi flyway and scatter along Pacific Coast chances are there are hunting opportunities near where you already hunt. Thanks to many years of above average breeding the U.S. Fish & Wildlife has allowed many states to open special spring seasons with very liberal bag limits. Not only will you have one last shot, you will have the possibility of many last shots in a single trip.
If you are thinking about trying your hand at outsmarting this white giant let me give you some tips to get started.
Finding birds – Snow geese travel in very large flocks, sometimes numbering in the thousands, so if there is a flock in the area it will be very hard to hide. Drive back roads in agricultural areas and look for possible food crops, especially during evening feeding times. Once you see a likely location return the next morning and get set well before first light.
Decoys in the open, hunters under cover – Decoys are a must when hunting snow geese and the more you have the better. While you may get away with a dozen or two decoys when hunting Canadians you will need ten times this, or more, to fool a large flock of snows. I recommend a limited number of full bodies accompanied by as many rags and cutouts you can afford (and carry). Simple decoys may trick the flock but a single glimpse of your or your dog will have a thousand birds changing direction in a flash. Make sure you and all your gear is well camouflaged or out of sight. I have heard reports of a single bag ruining a spot for days.
Big birds require big loads, good shooting – Snow geese are large than your average goose and it is recommended you load accordingly. Many hunters prefer to go with 31/2 inch shells and it never hurts to go big, but in my experience shot size of 1 or 2 will be enough in even a quality 23/4 inch shell. What is just as important is shot placement and making every shot count. Because the flocks are so large shooting too early will likely ruin any chance at follow up shots. I recommend you let the first birds land and even walk around before firing your first shot. The resulting confusion will place the maximum number of birds in range.