Location, Location, Location
Much like the fall, window-time is a reality for the spring snow goose hunter, but Fujan stresses that hunters can save time if they focus on an area that historically holds large snow goose numbers. “You have won half the battle if you position yourself in an area that sees good goose traffic,” Fujan says. “Unless the snow-line has completely pushed birds off-track, they will typically return through the same areas year after year.” By concentrating on high-traffic areas, you place the odds in your favor that you are going to be hunting fresh birds. “Your best bet in the spring is to hunt birds that are new to an area and are looking for places to rest and eat,” Fujan says. “If you are in the right location, you will likely shoot birds in the morning that are coming to the field to feed, and as the day progresses you will pick up birds that are migrating overhead. New birds are much more likely to respond to your decoys and calling.”
If your scouting time is limited or you are not able to secure permission on a field that is holding birds, Fujan suggests that you try setting up on the south side of a large body of water or refuge. Birds are naturally drawn to those areas, and by setting up on the south side, you are, in essence, short-stopping the birds before they reach their usual destination. Fujan warns, however, that you should not set up too close to a large concentration of real birds.
“You’d be amazed at how a large group of snows on the ground within two or three miles of your set-up can affect your hunt. Try and set up in a highly visible field several miles south of a large staging area. I don’t care what decoys you use or how many e-callers you have running; you simply cannot compete with thousands of real birds.”
An area that is often over-looked by spring snow goose hunters but can be highly effective is a large, snow-free pasture. “Pastures can provide lights-out hunting,” Fujan says. “The short grass offers the geese a perfect place to feed and loaf, which is exactly what many birds are looking for on their way back north.” Often, pasture hunts are not an early morning ordeal; instead, hunters should target birds that have already fed or are moving and looking to settle in to a day-roost set-up.