Ya......I don't ever really saying that when it comes to Snow Geese although I will say that in regards to snow this year. The white stuff that is. Weather, as usual with snow goose hunting, was the determining factor in how we fared this year and a lot of the time the weather was difficult when we chose to hunt. It was either snowing enough to put a layer on the ground which is a kill-shot for running traffic (our bread and butter) unfortunately, or raining which is just straight up annoying to hunt in with socks, or worst of all pea soup fog running traffic....
Beggars couldn't be choosers though so we just took a bunch of chances, almost none of which worked out. That being said things were not entirely uneventful on those hunts and they are always worthwhile experiences with birds hitting the ground on each and every hunt this year. Even then the weather wasn't helping birds still worked
Birds still died in lesser numbers
And most importantly additional info was learned and socked away for future outings.
One of the coolest wildlife events happened on one of our slower hunts this year. While complaining around 10am about the snow sqwal that derailed our AM hunt a group of pigeons approached the setup and Mike, being the blood thirsty animal that he is, smacked one on the pass. The bird dropped about 10 yards off the edge of the decoys and nobody was in a hurry to go grab it. 10 minutes later I noticed what, at the time, I thought was a Cooper Hawk fluttering low up the decoys. Suddenly the bird turns and I muttered 'I wonder if that dang thing sees that pigeon. Sure enough, what I now saw was clearly a Falcon, picked up the pace and just smashed the pigeon for an easy meal. We all just looked at each other wondering if that had really just happened. That was the first Falcon that I'd ever seen in the wild and to see it do that was breath taking.
So it took a while to get the gears lubed up at the start of the season but eventually the weather stopped being a complete jerk, the skies dried up, and the wind started to blow a little more. That's when we finally started to get into at least a few groups of birds that had been eluding us most of the year. We did lots of scouting to located what smaller groups of birds were around yet following the VERY early exit north of the masses this spring.
And when we found them with the right weather things were fun!
One of the best hunts of a season that turned out to be a very good consistent one was an impromptu gathering following a feed that had been in a field for a few days near the very end. There was a sudden change in the wind forecast and while sitting at my desk as work after hearing the birds were still there I got the text that we should hunt and the 3 of us decided a halfer was warranted and took a chance. Thankfully we did because the power-hour we saw was what snow goose hunting is all about. Groups coming over and trees and just giving it up as well as they possibly could.
by Zak Appleby
, on Flickr
It was truly a great hunt and makes the clean up sooo much easier!
As usual, and what seems to happen more and more, things petered out pretty quickly and pretty early. A sign of changing times and nothing ever seems to stay the same in the world of water fowling, that is one thing I know for sure. Each year is different and has it's own flare about it. But as long as those birds keep migrating this far south, which is certainly no sure thing, we'll still be out there chasing them.