Spring Goose Hunting Checklist
The spring snow goose season in North America is legal through a Conservation Order. This order allows hunters to use electronic calls to help them fool lesser snow geese. I have been hunting snow geese for eight years in the spring and I am convinced that an electronic call is a must for decoying snow geese in the spring.
A few springs ago I was hunting snow geese in North Dakota with a couple of my friends. Just a couple miles away from our spread it turned out a few acquaintances of my friends also had a decoy spread. They met us on a gravel road after the hunt and we had a quick chat. I was surprised to hear that they had only shot a single Ross goose that morning. I was surprised because I knew that put a decent sized decoy spread in the field, and we had done quite well. It turns out they did not have an electronic call with them to help coax the birds.
Early one spring morning when I lived in North Dakota my buddy Lyle and I headed out to scout snow geese. It turned out to be very foggy when we arrived in the area, but we managed to find a large group of feeding geese. We didn’t bring along any decoys that morning but we had an electronic call in the back of the pickup. We decided that we would sneak in a quick hunt and walked out into a cornfield between the feeding geese and their roost. Lying on our backs with the electronic call playing we were able to harvest nine snow geese in the fog. With no decoys!
Because of those and a few other experiences I believe that an electronic call is a must for decoying snows in the spring. If you do not own one or have excess to one, pass shooting is another good option.
Snow Goose Decoys
In my opinion, decoy spreads for snow geese have to be the most debated topic in all of waterfowl hunting. Spread sizes, realism, decoy placement, etc are all religiously discussed in cafes and on the Internet. Many different hunters will give lots of different advice on what they think one needs to be successful.
As a rule, most snow goose hunters would say that a minimum of 500 decoys is required to fool wary snow geese into gun range. Personally I think that number is probably closer to 350. The only major problem with smaller spreads is they do not have as much drawing power for geese at long distances. This may make it difficult to get migrating birds to take a look.
Most of the guides that I know run about 1,000 decoys, give or take a few, day in and day out. I believe that all snow goose hunters would do the same if money and field access were not issues. 1,000 decoys have good visibility at long distances and strength in numbers gives the birds’ confidence on their approach. These large size spreads offer the most consistent shooting day in and day out.
There seems to be little difference in attracting and finishing decoy snows over spreads of 2,000 to 10,000 decoys. Therefore 2,000 decoys is about the max group would need to hunt snow geese.
Nothing cures spring fever like spending time outdoors. Whether you have one, or 2,000 decoys, get out and give snow goose hunting a shot. If you don’t give it a try, you will never know if it will work.