Recieved this email today and decided to share it with everyone here!
Late October 2009 Migration Update and Fall Lookout.
Soaring into the middle of the Snow Goose season I’m
getting a mixed bag of reports ranging from Huge
Successes to Small Failures. While some groups are
reporting day after day of limit shoots, others are
reporting in with little to no snows each day.
So why the big difference? Who knows for sure….
But realistically this could be the year you really
have to scout hard to find a workable situation.
Most people I have talked to that have done poorly have
been hunting in areas where there are 1. Less snow geese
than last year, 2. Very big mobs/flocks of light geese
that act as magnets. 3. The flocks they are finding are
very spooky. Not relaxed at all. And 4., Very few
immature birds. The smaller bags have shown to be high
in adult birds. 90% or so.
On the other end of the spectrum, the hunters that are
whack’n and stack’n are avoiding the above 4
characteristics that are commonly representative of spring
hunts. They are avoiding the Old, Wise, and Spooky Adult
birds and finding relaxed pockets of workable adults or
better yet, areas with a higher juvenile ratio.
There are a lot of adult imposter geese out there left
over from last years juvy crop. Find them and you’ll have
a good shoot. The larger bags reported have had an
opposite amount of juvy birds but widely varied. 35-80%
In conclusion, a hunter might realize or assume that
it will pay off better to leave those massive flocks
alone in order to do better. Look for relaxed pockets
of birds coming from 2, 3, 4, 5 or more different roosts
or travel paths/flyways. Also keep an eye out for young
It may seem elementary but so many hunters suffer from
“shock and awe” when they see those huge 2 mile flocks.
Or, they get stuck in their ways, stuck to the same areas,
the same farmers, hotels, houses etc.
One word……. Mobility!
Not much has been reported from the west. Birds
continue to slowly work their way down British Columbia.
With fewer birds than the midcontinent population, pressure
remains high. A few flocks have started to trickle down
into the states and a few sighting have been recorded in CA.
Mid Continent Flyways:
Snow Goose hunting wouldn’t be the great sport it was if
it weren’t for the vast size of the mid continent
population. We love it!
Up until today, it was evident that the MS Flyway was a
little ahead of the Central Flyway. With the recent weather
trends the Snows in the northern regions of SK have said
goodbye and evened the scale.
Out of respect to the good people that are spoon feeding
me information, I’m not going to give out towns, or R.M.
numbers of where the big numbers of birds are hanging out
but rest assured if you cross a Canadian border, it wont
be longer than an hour or two until you find what you need.
Snows, Mallards, Specks Honkers, you name it.
As always, the big ducks and darks follow the whites. Reports
from MN, ND and MT have been very spotty to say the least.
Some birds have been recorded in SD, IA, MO, on down to
Texas consisting mostly of adult birds. (Note: South bound
Sightings have been more numerous than usual. This could be
a trend associated with the bust hatches in some colonies)
Without a cold front to make them move south, their stay
may be short in the northern tier of the US.
Field conditions are very moist right now and in some areas
its downright sloppy. If you plan to hunt right now, I’d be
sure to take a four wheeler along and remember to be careful
not to rip up township and prairie roads while hunting. The
farmers that are kind enough to let you hunt their fields
end up paying the price when some moron thinks its fun to
tear up the road.
If you are planning a late hunt in Southern SK, you may find
some troubles with hotel vacancies. The oil workers have
been working hard at filling up the vacancies.
Out east, the hunting has been good to great. Reports of
decent numbers as far south as NJ, DE and NY have surfaced
but as we all know, the good killing doesn’t really start
down there until the end of the year. For now, you’ll find
plenty of action up north with the French Canadians.
The outlook for the Atlantic season looks fantastic. I want
to share a report I received back in September from my good
friend Chuck Elder of James Creek Outfitters.
James played a big role in creating the Atlantic Conservation Season.
Unlike the Lessers, the Greaters had really good nesting
effort. The primary colony is on Bylot Island on its southern
coastal plain. Nesting conditions were excellent this year
for that area and I think I remember seeing that the mean
clutch was 3.3 or 3.5. This is the second year in a row that
the Big Whites had a good hatch.
Interesting to note is that last years fall flight estimate
was at 1.1 million but the spring count this year was estimated
at 1.4 million. Either one or the other count was way off or
some Lessers displaced to the Bylot colony with the Greaters.
No matter how you slice it, the AF will have TWICE as many Snows
on the fall flight than we had as little as five years ago.
It will be interesting to see if we harvest any more Lessers
this year. I say that because the question in my mind is IF some
Lessers displaced will they migrate with the Greaters leaving
the colony on the AF flight routes. We always shoot a few
Lessers every year but if we start seeing more in the bag this
year, perhaps there will be some validity to that theory.
No matter, either way, we still are going to have a boatload of
dirt in the flock this year and many second year juvies from
last year especially since the spring migration was so fast
last year which reduced the harvest. The birds were in southern
Ontario about 3 weeks ahead of schedule last spring. I've been
hunting them in Pa for the last 18 years or so and that is the
earliest I can remember the bulk of the birds leaving.
It's gonna be a great year.
Well that’s enough information for now. I need to get back out
hunting as should you. Remember to be courteous of farmers and
other hunters. I’ve heard some horror stories this year that
would make your head spin. We all need to get along and work
to preserve hunting via a united front.
Have Fun, Good Hunting,