- When hunting snow geese, the more calls you have the better. Try using two electronic calls plus your mouth call.
- Nebraska, Iowa, Northwest Missouri, South Dakota and North Dakota are some of the most popular states for spring snow goose hunting.
- Gun Loads (for 12-Guages): 3-inch BB, BBB, or T-Shot in steel. In Bismuth and Tungsten, BBs and 2s are the loads of choice.
- Choke: improved to full, depending on how your gun patterns with the large loads.
- Call your state Wildlife Agency for general information on season dates, regulations, and snow goose staging areas.
- For detailed tips on hunting spring snows, check out Ron Spomer’s article, “Strategies for Spring Snows,” in the Jan./Feb. issue of DU Magazine.
- Decoying: Most guides use 1,000 or more decoys, but if you aren’t going with a guide, 400 to 600 decoys will do the trick.
- Arrange decoys in a teardrop shape, large at one end and small at the other with your blind in the center.
- If the geese aren’t coming all the way to your decoys, switch from white clothes to camouflage and set up 100 yards downwind of your decoys.
- Scouting is key. Try to hunt a field that birds were in the night before.
- Flags and wind socks add movement to a decoy spread. Some hunters also use black and white balloons attached to poles to create the same effect.
Snow geese are fast learners and quickly become wary when hunted. They are long-lived and travel in large flocks, so thousands of experienced eyes examine every potential feeding and resting place for danger before landing. Furthermore, their nomadic lifestyle makes them difficult to locate.
Hunting snow geese requires hard work and specialized strategies, but those who learn the tricks find it immensely rewarding. Several hunters claim that few outdoor experiences can compare with being at the center of a swirling-vortex of several thousand squawking snow geese settling into a decoy spread.
Follow these quick tips to improve your odds on your next trip.
- Begin by driving back roads to locate fields where snow geese are feeding. Scouting the fields for where the geese want to be is the key to success. Find the landowner and always get permission to hunt before anything else. If the decoys can be set by mid-afternoon, you can hunt the field that evening and again the next morning.
- Snow geese usually return to a field until the food is exhausted. However, they have good memories and will not return to a place where they have been shot at. Finding a hot field and setting out decoys may result in two or three successful hunts; an evening, morning and possibly another evening. After that, the birds are gone and its back to scouting.
- Hide all signs of human activity, including tire tracks, candy wrappers and any other non-natural items.
- Park vehicles at least a half mile away.
- Set out a minimum of 300-500 full body decoys (800 to 1,200 is better). Using Silosocks and shells to fill in.
- Supplement full body decoys(Avery, GHG, Bigfoot) with lighter, less expensive shell and silhouette decoys.
- Wear camouflage or white if snow covers the ground.
- Electronic calls will work on large bunches of snow geese while often time a mouth call can be for calling in single birds or isolated pairs.
- Do not begin shooting until your outfitter or guide calls the shot. For maximum shooting opportunity, wait until bird are in front of the blinds and everyone is ready. The snow geese may circle many times before they are in gun range. Snow geese are also know for leaving a decoy spread for NO reason at all.
- Hunting partners should agree on fields of fire so shooting opportunities are not wasted by shooting at the same bird.
- Take your first shots at birds that are at the fringe of your effective range, then work your way back through closer birds.
- Focus on one bird at a time.
- A morning’s shooting ends when the birds go back to roost in refuge areas during the middle of the day. Sometimes that is as early as 9 a.m., other times they may not roost until noon. Afternoon feeding flights can arrive two hours before dark, but they may not appear until shooting hours are almost over.
- 3-inch shotgun shells with BB or BBB steel shot work well for snow geese but many of the performance loads like Hevi-shot, Hevi-Steel, Bismuth are excellent choices.