Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

A waterfowl discussion forum focusing on Kansas duck hunting.

Moderators: T Man, Mallyard, dukhntr, yellowlab

Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby John O`Neal » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:58 pm

A last minute family sickness opened up a shooting position and secured me an invitation on a guided Snow Goose hunt near the Squaw Creek NWR . I was excited to be going as the bird population had ballooned to over 1.2 million in the last few days prior to our hunt date on the 16th . I had read ,in the paper, an interview with the manager of Squaw Creek where he pointed out that peak numbers of birds usually occurred around the 15th of March . The existing record of 1.7 million birds was in danger of being eclipsed . We met the outfitter at 5 a.m. and was greeted with the news that the bird population had surged past 2 million birds . To say our hopes were high would be an understatement . Two million birds in the area. It had to be a good sign or so we thought . Our guide told us they had worked till 2 a.m. putting out the 1600 decoys we were going to hunt over that morning . He said birds had fed in the field the previous evening and they had gone in after them and set up right on the X. It appeared on the surface that everything was lining up for a bang up no holds barred hunt. Our soaring anticipation was quickly throttled as Mother Nature quickly stepped in to protect her own . Temperatures the previous day had been in the low 70s and had dropped to 26 when we entered the field . Twenty six degrees by itself is no problem , but coupled with a steady 35 to 40 mph gale that was blowing made the bottom of the layout blind with the doors pulled shut the only bearable place to be . We waited well past daylight to get our first glimpse of birds headed our direction . The birds coming our way had to fly directly into that howling north wind and literally gave up and started going down in a field about a mile and a half south of us . We could see the huge vortex they created as they swirled around and down short stopping our hopes for the morning. I think we all realized we had been dealt a bad hand and unless something or someone dislodged them from that field we were pretty much screwed. By 11a.m. most of the birds had returned to the refuge and we headed to town for lunch and a tour around . Everyone in the hunting party was interested in seeing what 2 million + birds looked like . Well I think everyone was pretty amazed at the sight and sound of that many waterfowl in one area. After killing a few hours we headed back to the field in anticipation of the promised 3 p.m. flight . Three o clock soon became four and suddenly it was six thirty and not a goose had shown . We could legally shoot till 8:02 but with the sun setting at 7:32 we were quickly running out of daylight . Finally the first line of birds appeared and immediately took an interest in our presentation. The guide let the numbers build and the birds were soon swirling above us . A deafening white tornado of birds enveloped us . Kill`em he screamed out so that everyone could hear him over the roar of the birds . It appeared to be raining geese out of the sky . We had a couple more chances at the birds before our hunt ended in a great flurry of action . Its funny how inspite of spending 8 hours in a cold uncomfortable layout blind I was looking forward to the excitement of capping off next season with another trip to the Snow Goose Mecca. Have a great day .

A tiny portion of the two million geese on Squaw NWR
Image

You will know your in snow goose country when you pass by this memorial to another of Americas favorite pastimes . Craig Mo. just north of the refuge .
Image
JOHN O`NEAL
John O`Neal
hunter
 
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: LENEXA Ks.


Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby duckdozer » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:35 pm

We always have fun up there, it is pretty humbling when you watch videos of guys shooting 100 bird days. we all know that it is rare now and we gt happy with over 25. We averaged 20 a day while there last weekend. We had shot the most birds of any one we hd talked to at the hotel and gas station as well. There is so many outfitters up there the birds kno wwhats up real quick and never do it twice. IMO this has been my experience with Mound Town. As long as everyone is aware tha 100 birds isnt going to happen more than likely, it is usually fun. We took a guy last yr that thought we should shoot that daily. We shot 60 the first day and then 10 and 0 he bitched the whole time about it. Needless to say he didnt come this yr. That 60 was the best day I had been on yet. I love chasing whitey!!!
Aux Lake H Maxine NAVHDA NA Prize 2 103pts
Retrieves Season #1 185
Season #2 197
Mallyard wrote:LOL... Truck+Gas+Basic Knowledge of Waterfowl habits = chance at sucess!
User avatar
duckdozer
hunter
 
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:31 am
Location: FEMA Region 7

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby kwacksmacker » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:51 am

the 100 bird days definitely have all the planets lining up right and more times than not better pray for a good migration day with some tired birds to reach it with 6 to 8 guns laying there. I always say that if we break double digits it has been a great day. i like to keep my standards low and over indulge in the celebration of mediocrity :yes:
totals for 09/10 season
5 bald eagles, 3 swans, 475 hen canvassbacks, 37 pintails, 400 teal blue wings and the season hasn't even started.
User avatar
kwacksmacker
hunter
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:48 pm

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby EcatMagoo » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:29 pm

Great Post John,

Snow Geese are an amazing and beautiful bird. I don't want to spend the money on guides or decoys so one weekend each spring we spend two days stalking them at the marsh and then following them to the fields. After getting permission, which is easy to do, we sneak through dry creek beds and crawl along fence lines just to get ourselves in position for one good opportunity at a shot. Once in place we spend some time just watching them tornado into the flock and listening to them scream at each other before taking our shot. Shots are fairly easy to get because of how they all get up, circle, and then drop right back down every 5 to 10 minutes. They are nutty little birds that seem at times to be inflicted with the worst case of ADHD every seen.

Each year I'm very content if I kill a bird or two. Just having the opportunity to watch them flying against a clear blue sky is work every second. This year three of us ended up with 7 and I was as happy as can be.

snow goose 1.jpg
Gotta love the open skies of the plains


snow goose 4.jpg
white on blue

snow goose 3.jpg
My buddy went on his first snow goose hunt this year. He shot a couple and one was a ross goose which was banded so far north it was close to Greenland.
User avatar
EcatMagoo
hunter
 
Posts: 559
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:30 pm

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby TomKat » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:49 pm

kwacksmacker wrote:the 100 bird days definitely have all the planets lining up right and more times than not better pray for a good migration day with some tired birds to reach it with 6 to 8 guns laying there. I always say that if we break double digits it has been a great day. i like to keep my standards low and over indulge in the celebration of mediocrity :yes:

I am hoping to break our old record of 324 birds next year.

John it sounds like you had a good shoot up there. Git ahold of me next spring. I would love to have you help me with a jump.
Image
User avatar
TomKat
Dorothy
 
Posts: 11501
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:18 am
Location: NE Kansas

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby duckdozer » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:06 am

TK if you arent doing it over decoys you arent doing it right, if you have a feed or roost to jump you know 2 guys with spreads that would love to put them out to get under them. Am I right GoodKarmaRising? We chased them more this yr then we have in the past maybe that is because between 4 of my buddies we have accumulated 2200 sillosocks/deadly/whiterock windsock type decoys. It is so much fun. I am putting together a spread of floaters for next season while scouting we found some loafing areas that were holding birds that we had permission to hunt but without floaters we were hesatant about doing it with just windsocks on 24" stakes.
Aux Lake H Maxine NAVHDA NA Prize 2 103pts
Retrieves Season #1 185
Season #2 197
Mallyard wrote:LOL... Truck+Gas+Basic Knowledge of Waterfowl habits = chance at sucess!
User avatar
duckdozer
hunter
 
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:31 am
Location: FEMA Region 7

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby mudpack » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:26 am

I think it would be sweet to put out a big water spread for snows and decoy them in over water! I hope you are successful beyond your wildest dreams next year!!!!

Most years we kill a few snows over our Canada water spreads, but they are usually singles, pairs, and small (<20 birds) flocks.
mudpack
hunter
 
Posts: 5639
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:40 am
Location: Central Kansas

Re: Pilgrimage to the Snow goose Mecca

Postby kwacksmacker » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:40 am

duckdozer wrote:TK if you arent doing it over decoys you arent doing it right,



Amen


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
totals for 09/10 season
5 bald eagles, 3 swans, 475 hen canvassbacks, 37 pintails, 400 teal blue wings and the season hasn't even started.
User avatar
kwacksmacker
hunter
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:48 pm


Return to Kansas Duck Hunting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests