By Dan Amundson
So you want to be a snow goose hunter…
This phrase is often followed by a list of reasons why you don’t want to chase light geese. Early mornings, lots of decoys, smart birds, muddy fields, etc. People tend to focus on the negative.
I won’t sugarcoat it. Hunting spring snow geese is tough, but it’s absolutely worth it. Harvesting birds in the spring is a unique opportunity in itself, but there’s so much more to it than the kill.
The sights and sounds of the spring migration are worth the price of admission. Unlike the trickle of birds escaping the cold temperatures in the fall, the spring flight is a sprint north for waterfowl to begin breeding. Masses of specklebellies fill the skies, drowning out every noise within five miles with their constant giggles. At first light, Pintails and widgeon put on air shows only fighter jets could rival. Honkers pair up and battle each other for nesting turf. Everywhere you look, there’s waterfowl in the air. The flyways are alive again.
These are scenes only to be seen from the field. Facebook posts don’t do it justice. It’s something every waterfowler needs to see someday.
If snows cooperate, you’ll be addicted for life. There’s not another goose out there that is as acrobatic as a snow goose. Flipping completely on their backs, snows can lose altitude and slam into your decoys before you have time to even think about grabbing your phone for a Snapchat video. You’ll have to pick your jaw up off the ground before pulling the trigger.
Even when they don’t play nice, which is more times than not, watching God’s world wake up and being in the midst thousands of birds continuing their trek north is something only snow goose hunters get to enjoy.
Snow goose hunting typically requires a lot of decoys, and only folks who are partially insane are willing to set an entire spread by themselves. The old phrase “many hands make light work” rings true and add to the fun. Some of our fondest memories of hunting revolve around who we were with instead of the birds we shot. Add in a little delirium from a lack of sleep and you have a recipe for lots of laughs. Even on mornings when you head home empty handed, you will have enjoyed a day with your buddies. There’s something special about good fellowship in a corn field.
The spring conservation order allows hunters to take as many geese as they want. While it doesn’t happen often, the chance to harvest over 100 birds in a single day is there. With the right conditions it can be done in the fall, but odds are increased in the spring because there’s no limit. Many rookie snow goose hunters think every day will provide piles of birds, but these hunts are few and far between. However, getting the chance to have that banner day is pretty exciting and provokes a lot of hunters to chase snows one more day.
You’ll be muddy.. You’ll be tired. You’ll get frustrated. Snow geese will outsmart you. But in the end, you’ll be happy you did it, regardless of how many birds you’re bringing home.
So you want to be a snow goose hunter.
Yes. Yes you do.