Good Morning Missouri

April 28, 2009 by  

By PJ Maguire

It was mid-morning on a bright sunny, March day in Mound City, Missouri.  Chris Coffey, J.D. and I had just ordered breakfast at a small diner. Seated and standing in the diner around us were camo-clad clients, make-up wearing waitresses and cracker-jack snow goose guides.  The tail end of the snow goose migration was still staging on Squaw Creek and hunting had been good.

Missouri Spring Goose HuntingNaturally the conversation between the three of us drifted to snow geese and snow goose hunting, specifically decoying.  These are the days when for the most part hunters use two different approaches when decoying snows. Some prefer smaller, more realistic spreads; others go for larger, easier to deploy decoy spreads.  Most will agree that motion is a must.

Spring snow goose hunting is still a relatively new pursuit; many have tried new inventive ways to fool these birds. Some hunters have taken a few steps back in pursuit of these wary geese. Still in my opinion it is the best way to cure spring fever for the waterfowl hunter.

“Once I saw two hunters set up in a CRP field with fifty all white decoys and their truck parked in a tree line only twenty yards away.” Commented Chris.  “Yeah, I have seen some crazy stuff.” Replied J.D. “Guys trying to pass-shoot high flying geese from ditches, using mirrors, cow suites or boards to sneak them. Stuff like that.”

“Personally, I have seen some stuff work that I didn’t think was going to work but did.” I added. “Once I was scouting in North Dakota a few years back when I spotted a small decoy spread set on a large dried up slough. I put my truck in park on a gravel road and glassed the spread with my binos. Two gentleman where hiding in the cattails, and I counted twenty full-bodied decoys for the spread.”

I paused for a moment and glanced outside at the bright sun. A friendly waitress stopped and freshened up our java.

“I was about to leave when I noticed a large train of migrating snow geese coming from the south.” I started again. “The first few large flocks kept going, but then some of the birds started to break up and shift. Then to my surprise, the geese started to tornado down. There was close to fifteen hundred birds circling above each other from the blue sky towards the earth. The taller birds pushing the lower birds lower and even lower with each circle. It took a minute or two, but soon enough I was thinking that the gunners should be taking them.”  I paused and the three of us took a sip of coffee at the same time.  “Then the front birds started folding out of the flock, and then I heard the distant gun shots. When it was over the two hunters went out and retrieved seven birds from the grey dried slough bottom.”   “Nice! I love it when you see the birds fall before you here shots!” Exclaimed Chris.  “Anything can happen and sometimes it does.” Said J.D.

Some days nothing works and some days everything works. I am a friend to a professional guide who has been in the game for some time; he thinks barometric pressure plays a role. Personally I cannot prove that it doesn’t.

That morning we discussed a few more aspects about spring snow goose hunting over bacon and eggs. The three of us agreed that an electronic call is better than a nice decoy spread, with no call. Chris added a quick story about shooting decoying snows with an e-call and no decoys in the fog.   One thing we all agreed on, however, is nobody has seen it all and nothing suprises me anymore.

Later we paid and headed back out to see which direction the geese would fly from the refuge. The following morning in Missouri the three of us would again be patiently waiting the arrival of snow geese from a cornfield, hopefully producing a morning to remember over a future cup of coffer, bacon, and eggs.

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3 Comments on "Good Morning Missouri"

  1. Jason Breuwirth on Thu, 4th Jun 2009 9:26 pm 

    Great article, I really enjoyed it. It reminds me of the way hunting articles used to be. Which was more about story-telling than the “X”s and “O”s of how they set-up, what name brand gear they used, what guns they shot, etc.

  2. Tanner Sanderson on Sat, 27th Nov 2010 7:44 pm 

    That is vary cool. I would love to go snow goose hunting.The only thing is I dont have any where to hunt snow geese,and I have no clue where to go.

    I am nine years old this is my first year to hunt in Minnesota side of the Mississippi in wabasha. This years hunt for My Dad and I has been realy good I have shoot 16 ducks this year and 1 goose and it had a band on it.

  3. Bill on Wed, 30th Oct 2013 1:28 pm 

    I owned and have hunted over large spreads of snow decoys when I lived in Houston. After being back in Oklahoma for 10 years I have built up my Canada spread and gotten rid of most of my snow goose gear. We had added 18 snow goose full bodies because we were seeing a few snows. So last year during the drought and most of my places to hunt were dry and no wheat I ventured into eastern oklahoma for snows with my 18 snows. And averaged 6 birds an outing. Very little work with a minimal payoff. Yes I am painting some of my Canada decoys and buying more snows for this year. I like big spreads but it sure was nice to work so little and shoot a few birds.

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