Sounds of Spring
Of all the aspects of spring snow goose hunting that can go wrong, the use of an e-caller is where Fujan sees the most mistakes. “I really think that hunters try and do too much with the e-caller. The big roar of sound that is commonly pumped through e-calling systems is really not natural, unless you have a flock of several thousand birds all launching up from the field at the same time.” For Fujan, it is not about pumping out large amounts of birds sounds; rather, a hunter should strive to present a clean, realistic soundtrack that features plenty of individual goose sounds. “The next time that you are out scouting and come across a field of feeding snow geese, stop and listen for a while,” Fujan says. “If you are hunting with 200 full-bodies, put together an e-calling system that replicates 200 live birds.” Fujan also stresses that the speakers should really circle the blinds, so that the birds are always hearing an equal amount of sound from the decoy spread.
For many waterfowl hunters, the highlight of a day’s hunt is often found in the work of a four-legged hunting companion, and there are very few days when Ben Fujan isn’t accompanied by his two-year old lab named Titan. Fujan has found that spring snow goose hunting provides great opportunities for dogs, both young and old, to build confidence in several areas. “When things are going well in the field, a dog will have the chance to make more retrieves in a day than some see in a whole season,” Fujan says. “Spring snow goose hunting is a great time to work on handling skills, and the white birds provide great visibility for long marks.” However, Fujan adds that a hunter should execute a little caution if a pup is extremely young or has not experienced much hunting. “Quite often you’ll be hunting with several guns and there will be lots of birds raining down in the decoy spread. All of this can prove to be too much for some pups, and ultimately it can set the stage for many difficulties down the road.” Fujan suggests that if you are going to hunt with a young or inexperienced dog, do so under very controlled circumstances so that the pup will leave the day with an even stronger desire to get out the next time.
No Place Like Home
While there are many places a hunter can chase snows in the spring, Ben Fujan likes to stick close to home. “Come mid-March, there is no other place I’d rather be than in a dry corn-field in South Dakota,” Fujan says. “Give me a 45-degree day with sunny skies, a southerly breeze and a day with my dog and my friends – that’s about as good as it gets.”