Good morning to all of the snow goose chasers out there. This morning is one of many reports to come on the snow goose migration in the midwest. Yesterday I made a trip to Mound City to finish securing some prime cornfields this also included a nice pond that should produce some outstanding days of shooting. We saw 50,000 – 100,000 snow geese on Squaw Creek NWR there were also 10,000 or thousands of snow geese north in the hills feeding. everyone should also beware that there are large numbers of snows at Smithville Reservior, and in the Grand Pass area. The conservation action opens Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Snow goose hunting is one of the up and coming phenomenons in the waterfowl industry. Many people are taking to this sport because of the unlimited limits many states are imposing. The snow goose, also known as the blue goose, is a North American species of goose. They are mostly white in color, and that is where their name derives from. These birds usually find one partner, and mate for life. They also normally nest in colonies, and they have been having extraordinary breeding rates and the populations are getting over-populated. This is why many natural resource departments have placed a season in effect where there is no limit on the birds. In this article, I will discuss why the avid duck hunter should give snow goose hunting a try, and also more aspects of this new sport.
An avid duck hunter who likes to fire off a lot of shots during duck season should consider taking a trip snow goose hunting when duck season closes. Snow geese migrate each spring, in tremendous sized groups. This results in a ton of shooting for the hunter if they can time out the migration at the right time. Another good added bonus to snow goose hunting is that conservation allows the use of electronic callers, which can result in louder and better sequenced calling. In a typical days hunting, it is not uncommon for hunters to bag over 50 snow geese.
Most snow goose hunts are guided, so usually all you have to do is show up to the location and meet the guide. The guide will then explain the hunting process, and what to expect. Most guides will typically use over 500 decoys, and will hunt out of a pit. The guides will also provide lunch since the hunts last all day, sunrise to sunset. Snow goose hunts can take place over a field, or over a body of water. You must be careful to recognize the type of birds coming into the decoys, because usually during snow goose season, Canada geese and white-fronted geese are out of season. This is another added bonus of hunting with a guide, because they will help specify what to shoot.
Snow geese typically breed from late May to early August. However, they typically leave their nesting sites during their annual migration to and from warmer wintering areas. Their migration can sometimes reach distances to up to 3,000 miles. During their migration is typically the best time to hunt them, as they are in very large groups. Many biologists think that their shift in winter feeding has led to the over-population of these geese.
If you are interested in self-guiding yourself on one of these hunts, you will need quite a bit of equipment. First off, you will need a very good electronic caller so the birds will be able to hear you well. When a large group comes in, their calling will overpower a cheap electronic system. Snow geese also usually fly at very high altitudes, so this can make for tough calling as well. A call that continuously plays a variety of calls tends to work best. There are also calls these days that hook up to an iPod, or other mP3 player. This way you can play which calling sequence you have downloaded on your mP3 player
Snow Goose Calling
Dozens of good goose calls are available, all of which are effective in the hands of a good caller. It’s helpful to listen to wild birds and try to imitate them with your calls. There are no better teachers. But unless you have a friend who is a skilled caller who can teach you, you also should purchase an instructional CD, DVD or audiotape that will allow you to hear the actual sounds of geese and good calling by practiced goose hunters. Study this and try to duplicate the sounds used for various situations. After some practice, record yourself on a tape recorder and decide for yourself if you’re good enough to start calling in the field. Listen for weaknesses in your repertoire, then practice to improve them.
Snow Goose Hunting Tips
There’s no such thing as a casual snow goose hunt, one reason many waterfowlers don’t participate. This sport requires large goose decoy spreads and constant scouting.
First, you must study movement patterns of geese where you want to goose hunt, then secure permission to hunt where concentrations are located. (Most hunting is on private hunting lands.) When geese start using a field, they stay until the food supply is exhausted. Being there after they’ve started using the field and before they’ve eaten it out is the trick.
Elaborate ground blinds are nice but not necessary because a goose field usually produces only one or two good shoots before geese move elsewhere. Many goose hunters simply lie on their backs in the goose decoys and wear white or camouflage-pattern clothing. Pit ground blinds, portable ground blinds and makeshift ground blinds made from natural materials on-site also can be used, depending on where you hunt.
The most important thing goose hunters should remember is to remain well hidden and motionless until birds are well within shooting range. Snow geese are wary, and if they see or hear anything out of place, they’ll avoid it. If approaching birds seem reluctant to land, flare off at the last minute or land consistently outside the decoys, chances are they are spotting the blind, hunter movement or something else that makes them nervous. Adjust as necessary.
Avoid the temptation to shoot when the first geese start dropping into your set-up. Veteran waterfowlers hold off until the lead geese are touching down and geese in the rear of the flock are well within gun range before making their move.
Remember this rule of thumb as well: If, when aiming, the end of your gun barrel covers more than half the bird, the goose is beyond 45 yards and is too far away for a clean kill.
If you’re not up to the tasks just outlined, consider hiring a hunting guide. These guys can show you the ins and outs of snow goose hunting, and after you’ve experienced a hunt first-hand, you’ll know whether you really want to make the required investment in time and hunting equipment to hunt on your own. Best of all, hunting guides do all the work. The hunter need not spend hours scouting, gaining hunting permission, and setting and retrieving goose decoys. For a reasonable fee, reputable hunting guides do all this and clean and pack your birds, too.
Snow Goose Hunting Conclusion
Snow goose hunting is challenging, for sure. Nevertheless, it’s a sport many of us find irresistibly attractive. Goose hunting allows us to perfect our skills with a shotgun and to go afield with men we enjoy and admire. Most of all, it gives us another excuse to be outdoors. Until you have sat in a goose spread and watched a fall or winter day unfold, develop and decline, you have missed one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Here’s the recipe:
In a caste iron skillet, place:
- Six strips bacon, cut into small pieces.
- Cook until crisp, set aside, and leave two tablespoons bacon grease in pan.
In skillet, add:
- Two cups snow goose breasts or thighs or both, cubed.
- Season with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked. Set aside pieces on paper towel.
In same pan, sauté:
- One cup fresh mushrooms until cooked.
In separate sauce pot, add:
- One and a half cups snow goose stock (use chicken stock as substitute), ½ cup each diced onion and carrot, and two cloves minced garlic.
Cook until tender, then add:
- One can (10 3/4 ounces) of cream of potato soup. (Note: Doheny also likes to add cubed day-old baked potatoes to the recipe).
Stir mixture, then add:
- Two cups half and half, bacon, snow goose meat, mushrooms and one cup cooked wild rice (more if you like), and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, remove from heat, and serve with shredded Swiss cheese and minced fresh parsley.
Each Fall, the snow goose makes its way from Siberia down to California’s Sacramento valley, and we were often lucky enough to shoot a few. Unlike other geese, the snow goose is a very lean bird, with very little fat around the breast and legs, hence not a very good candidate for roasting. Furthermore, the feathers are extremely difficult to pluck, an additional hindrance to anyone wanting to roast the goose in conventional style. We typically skinned the goose, and then separated the breast and upper legs from the bone. To cook this very lean and dry meat, we had to add a sauce. For many years, we used a dry red wine for snow goose stew, but then, quite by accident, we discovered that a heavy port wine made an even better sauce. This may be the tastiest of all the wild game dishes that we prepare.
Breasts and thighs of 3 snow geese, boned and cut into 1 1’2″ to 2″ cubes
1/2 cup, olive oil
1/2 cup, all purpose flour
2 cups, whole small boiling onions, peeled
2 cups, small (about 2″ to 3″) carrots, but not peeled
12 small red potatoes, washed, but not peeled, and halved
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup, port wine
1/2 cup, dry red wine
1 cup, dried porcini mushrooms, soaked and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon, dried thyme
1 teaspoon, dried tarragon
1 teaspoon, salt
1 teaspoon, black pepper, medium grind
2 tablespoons, all purpose flour, thoroughly dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
- Cut goose meat into cubes, and dry thoroughly.
- Dredge goose meat in flour, and add to large skillet in sizzling hot olive oil.
- Brown quickly on all sides, then reduce flame and cook for about 5 minutes more.
- Remove goose meat with slotted spoon, and set aside.
- Add onions, carrots, potatoes, and garlic.
- Cook over medium flame until onion skins are translucent.
- Mix port and dry red wine, then begin adding wine, a little bit at a time, de-glazing the skillet as you go.
- Add mushrooms, spices, and salt and pepper. When the wine has cooked down by about about 1/2, add the goose meat back to the pot, reduce to low flame, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Occasionally, give the skillet a vigorous shake to ensure that the meat is well-coated.
- When meat is done, remove all ingredients to deep sided serving platter.
- Add flour and water mixture to pan, durn up heat, and mix vigourously until a thick, deep brown gravy emerges.
- Pour over goose on serving platter.
Recipe serves 8.
Note: We sometimes chopped the meat and vegetables a little more finely, and served the goose stew over slices of toasted French bread, as an appetizer. Don’t allow guests to eat too much, as they could easily become too full for the main course!
Fully Guided Hunts – $175 per hunter / per day
Pit Blind Hunts Available $200 per hunter / per day
Call NOW before we are booked!
- Guided Spring Snow Goose Hunts 2013 in Missouri from Grand Pass to Mound City.
- Book Your Hunt Today $175 per hunter/ per day (week day specials)
- Fully guided hunt in stalked cornfields with over 1000 decoys in each spread including Avery full body decoys, silo socks, flyers, E-callers
- NO LIMITS, NO PLUGS
- Visit Snow Goose Guides
- Purchase Your Permit!
Top 5 reasons to book your hunt with us this season!
1. All of our hunts take place over Avery & Bigfoot full body goose decoys, 5/8 Avery Snow Goose Shells and Sillo Sock Decoys.
2. We have 10 years of Spring Snow Goose hunting experience and we live here. We know where the geese are and we will do our absolute best to put you on them.
3. We hunt all day and are in the most predominant flyway in the United States.
4. 1000’s of geese killed in the past 10 year.
5. We want you to have the best hunting experience as possible. Your success is our business!
The Missouri Conservation Action Season opens February 1, 2012 We have some openings for the beginning of the season.
Week Day Specials Available
- Exclusive Fields Available
- Maximum of 10 hunters per field
- Avery, GHG, and Silosock Decoys
- Hunt Stalked cornfields
- Layout ground blinds
- Heated Pit Blind Available
Pricing – $175 per hunter / per day
Spring Snow Goose hunts available February through March. Full Body Avery GHG decoys, Silo Socks, flyers and custom eletronic callers. $150 per hunter / per day.
Call 402-304-1192 To Book Your Hunt!