“Arkansas is a huge wintering ground for both snow geese and whitefronts,” says Luke Naylor, Arkansas waterfowl biologist. “At any time of the season, there can be geese anywhere throughout the Mississippi River Delta, and with all the agricultural land out there, the geese can be spread across a wide area. Those birds have an amazing ability to find and utilize new food resources in a short amount of time.”
With abundant rice agriculture, California’s Sacramento Valley is another area worth noting for light geese and specklebellies. Californians have averaged more than 51,000 specks and 55,000 light geese the past three seasons.
Hunting light geese in the Atlantic Flyway means targeting greater snow geese for the most part. New York and Pennsylvania hunters shoot the largest total tally of these birds, with New Yorkers averaging 8,566 snows the past three seasons and Pennsylvanians averaging 10,400. Maryland and New Jersey hunters also contribute heavily to the snow goose harvest. However, Delaware hunters enjoy the highest success rates on greater snow geese. Even with a fraction of the active goose hunters in Delaware (4,000) than are in New York (17,467) and Pennsylvania (36,200), Delaware hunters have taken more than 7,100 greater snow geese the past three seasons.
“While Delaware used to support less than 1 percent of the greater snow goose population, it now supports more than 30 percent,” says Matt DiBona, Delaware waterfowl biologist. “Peak numbers observed in aerial surveys the last five years have ranged from 91,000 to 328,000. Studies have shown the birds are all roosting in the coastal wetlands at night and then flying west at dawn to feed in wheat, barley, and rye fields.”