As late-season dark goose hunting opportunities wind down across the country, snow goose fanatics are gearing up for the spring migration. Light Goose Conservation Order (LGCO) seasons have already opened in some states, while snow goose hunters in other states are anxiously waiting for dark goose seasons to close so they too can push the play button on electronic callers.
Late-winter roosts in the Midwest are jammed with Canada geese in areas that received heavy snowfall last week. In some cases, relatively small areas are holding thousands of honkers, offering outstanding hunting opportunities. Reports of some of the best hunts of the year are coming in with regularity from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, where dark goose seasons in some zones run through this weekend.
It may seem like a gamble for Canada geese to stay up north and dig through over a foot of snow to find food, but it appears the big birds know that warmer weather is on the way. Light geese also appear to know spring is right around the corner.
“In the past few days, we’ve seen a big push of birds from the south—mainly adults. Out of the 80 we got today, only five were juvies,” says Patrick Cummings, guide and owner of In The Face Outdoors, who is currently hunting in the Stuttgart, Arkansas, area.
Farther north, light geese are already congregating along the Ohio and Wabash Rivers in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. Big numbers of snow geese began to filter back into the region last weekend, with daily flights building throughout this week.
Sean Herrick, guide and owner of Willow Creek Waterfowl in Illinois, reports that there are still patches of snow and ice in the fields in his area, but the landscape is beginning to thaw.
“We’re seeing a decent number of geese, but there isn’t much to work with in these flocks yet,” Herrick says. “We see maybe one or two juvies in a given bunch, but that will all change soon.”
With a genuine warmup and south winds in the forecast for a huge geographic area, snow and ice will quickly become a non-issue in many areas. This favorable migration scenario should keep faithful snow goose hunters very busy for the foreseeable future.