Thursday, 21 November 2013

Hunting Snow Geese in the Spring

Hunting Snow Geese in the SpringSnow geese are hard to decoy since they are smart enough to evade even the savviest waterfowl hunters. However, the thrill in the hunt is the pursuit making it even more worth the investment in effort. If you have never been a part of this spectacle, maybe you should consider spring snow goose hunting this year. Listed below are some of the things that are usually taken into consideration when  snow goose hunting in Missouri.


The Migration Stages

During the early stages of the hunting season, it is crucial that hunters are able to align themselves along the traditional migration corridor. This gives them the perfect opportunity to decoy the first birds as they fly into the areas that had been snow covered.

The second wave of migration takes place as the birds move north towards the retreating ice line. Experts advise hunters to expect a mixture of both juvenile and adult geese in the second wave. During this stage, the birds will most often stall along the migration path offering a good opportunity to witness fall like patterns of them flying from the roost to the already established feeding areas. These flocks have more juveniles and hunting season tends to pick up more then.

Decoys and Callers

The snow geese are ravenous feeders who will always concentrate on the upwind region of any flock; this is where fresh food lies. This is also the same area where hunters setup. By running about 800 to 1500 decoys, hunters create a teardrop pattern with the majority of decoys fitted on and around blinds that are located close to the crown of a spread. Decoying birds are lower in concentration downwind with the mass number placed upwind. The landing space created by the decoys should place the birds directly in the line of vision of hunters.

Callers are placed on both upwind and downwind portions of the spread. The volume on the callers has to however, be carefully watched. This is because if the downwind callers are loud, the birds will be spooked as they set up around your decoys.

Guided or Unguided?

The list of items required for decoying spring snows is long, not mentioning expensive. For that reason, most hunters opt to hire a guide. A guided hunt is the most logical choice for anyone who does not want to be tied down by the colossal amount of money that will be required for equipment that will be in use for only a few days every year. Another advantage of  guided snow goose hunts is that you get to find prime lands quickly. However, when finding a guide it is prudent that you ask many questions.

Gear to Carry Along During a Hunt

The long days spent in the field decoying and hunting spring snow geese can be grueling. However, to make life bearable here is a list of must have gear:

·         Retriever
     ·         An ATV that comes with a light trailer and or a large sled
     ·         Cooler packed with drinks and snacks
     ·         Spare batteries for headlamps, motorized decoys, e-callers and other        equipment

Springtime not only beckons waterfowl hunters towards Missouri goose hunting, but also because of the liberal limits, if there are any limits at all, as well as the unplugged shotguns that hunters hold close to their hearts.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Getting the Most Out of Your Buck From Guided Snow Goose Hunts

Snow goose hunting in spring is a memorable event and an activity that comes highly recommended. It is especially thrilling for individuals who enjoy watching birds and love wing shooting. However, for the first timers, it is important to understand why this form of hunting is popular.


A Brief History

In 1999, the Conservation Order was signed in an effort to control the population of snow geese in Northern America. This is because the birds are literary eating their own food supply than it can replenish itself. If no intervention is done, the snow goose population will eventually collapse. This has allowed hunters to harvest as many birds as possible in an effort to get control over their population. The Conservation Order allows hunters to use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls as well as motion decoys during the spring migration.


However, snow geese are highly wary and add their intelligence to the mix; they are extremely hard to hunt down. In order to make it possible to hunt them, outfitters have come up with a few strategies to attract the birds.


Spreads and Decoys

As you shop around for an outfitter, it is crucial to understand that the professional should have a spread of between 1,000 to 1,500 decoys. This is because this amount of decoys are most likely to attract the attention of migrating snow geese. For the bird, there is safety in numbers. Most outfitters will use a mixture of full body decoys and windsocks to simulate movement, which geese love.


Guns and Ammo

For the first timer, the guns and ammo to use is a subject of curiosity. However, snow geese are not that difficult to bring down. It is advisable to bring along a 12 or 10 gauge shotgun that offers more pellets on a target within the desired range. at the same time, pay particular attention to shell velocity since the faster it comes out of the barrel, the more downrange energy retained in the shot.


Bird Harvest

The realistic bird harvest is 15 to 25 birds a day. Although 50 are also quite common, one should consider  various variables, including weather and migration fluctuations. Hunting younger birds is easier than going after adults. This is because they decoy easily and are not as smart. On the flip side, they migrate further than their adult counterparts do since they have not matured enough to nest. You are likely to see fewer juveniles, but you will be able to hunt more of them.


Guides Lead Your Team

One of the reasons that makes guided snow goose hunts popular is the invaluable experience and knowledge that guides have accumulated while on the field. They have an intricate understanding on how to set a spread, adjust the decoys such that the birds center and offer the best targets. They also know how to read birds and know the best time to call for shots.


Since snow geese approach the laid decoys from above you, you have the unique chance to watch them circle, glide and study the spread. If they like it, they gradually drop closer. Always expect to make 45-degree angle shots or straight up.


Your guides will always take care of bird retrieval as well as chase down crippled birds on four-wheelers. The guide will appreciate any help you offer since the activity is labor intensive. To better understand what the guide can and cannot do check out for more information.