Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week - March Snow Geese

To manage growing populations of snow geese, “conservation order” hunts provide opportunities for waterfowlers like us these late-winter days and into early spring. (PGC media photo)

By Steve Hickoff

 

How can you not like the sound of hundreds to thousands of geese overhead?

 

Limits are liberal (15 birds daily), and the late winter / spring seasons, geography depending, are often generous (check yours as many are underway, and dates vary). Though difficult to decoy and call to your position at times, snow geese (a.k.a. “light geese”) help guys like us bridge winter recreation and turkey hunting to come.

 

The reason: excessive numbers warrant untraditional methods. In short, light geese compromise arctic habitat, breeding and feeding there after the migration north concludes. Wildlife management attempts to solve such challenges. We as hunters benefit.

Though they’re hunted elsewhere, eight states in the Atlantic Flyway are open to 2010 “conservation order” spring snow goose hunting as well. These include North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware to the south, and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont to the north.

 

Some tips to hunting light geese include:

 

SCOUTING SERIOUSLY

 

Your effort to find them might begin where they roost, and include locating a nearby field where they feed and/or might forage. Study them for a pattern of use. They’ll often move and feed early in the day and later in the afternoon, loafing elsewhere during midday. Sometimes too they just move on.

 

STUDYING MAPS

 

Study maps, drive and glass fields, and seek landowner permission at all costs, explaining what you’ll be doing and even why. Set your spread at midday for later afternoon hunts. If it feels right, get back there the next morning too. Don’t pressure a spot; then again, hunt it while it’s hot and even just a little warm.

 

BLENDING IN

 

As camouflage goes, wear white if snow covers the ground, or standard options if you’re in a layout blind or using natural cover. Blend in, no matter what. Snowies feel the pressure, and adjust accordingly. If possible, hide all unnatural evidence, including your truck, trailer and four-wheeler. Make it look real.

 

USING FOUR WHEELS

 

Here’s where your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side comes in. Spreads should consist of as many snow goose decoys as possible. Full body snows, shell fakes, and silhouettes should round off your presentation. It’s not unusual for a hardcore snow goose hunter to place several hundred to even 1,000 or more dekes out in a field, and even use wing flags to impart movement to the spread. You’ll need your four wheels to haul that gear to and from your hunting location.

 

Yes, a lot of work, but there’s a pleasure in it only waterfowlers (and riders) know.

<-- Back