Migration Alert: Light Geese Continue to Push North

Mar. 24, 2022

Despite several major winter weather events halting or even reversing migration the past few weeks, the light goose push northward has kicked into high gear with leading edge birds moving well into the Prairie Provinces of Canada.

As warmer conditions thawed the landscape over the past two weeks, mobs of light geese worked their way northward across the Midwestern sky like one massive conveyor belt. Hunters enjoyed success as the constant pulse of geese has made regular stops over decoy spreads in northwest Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

“We’ve been running three sets in Iowa and two in Nebraska, shooting 30 to 50 birds per day,” says Larry Frimann, Black Goose Outfitters owner and guide. “We plan on shutting down a couple spreads this week and focusing on juvies running up the I-29 corridor. We’ll probably go another week and call it good for the season.”

“We do things a little different than most and run all full-body and floater spreads and hunt from pits. We’ve had a great season. We struggled with flooding in Arkansas and Missouri and dealt with lots of mud,” adds Frimann.

While legitimate pockets of juvies were being reported as far as south as Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois last weekend, the vast majority have pushed well into states further north, including Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Many key refuges have been reporting dramatic decreases in bird numbers for the past week as the tail end of the light goose migration catches up with adult birds rushing to their tundra nesting grounds.

With the official arrival of spring, birds are quickly becoming sparse throughout much of the midcontinent migration corridor, but this has not been the case in the northern tier of South Dakota and much of North Dakota, where owner of SX Decoys Scott Butz has been chipping away at the leading edge of the migration and is now smack dab underneath the main push.

“Right now, we are covered with snow geese up here. With this cold front coming, I think we’re going to have plenty of birds for a couple of weeks,” Butz explains. “We’re still dealing with mostly adult geese, but the juvies are starting to show up. It’s still very dry so the birds are in areas they normally are not. It’s definitely going to impact the duck hatch again if this region stays dry.”

Along the Atlantic Flyway, greater snow geese have been working their way northward at a slightly slower pace and are now primarily concentrated along the St. Lawrence River Valley in upstate New York, eastern Ontario and southern Quebec.

The bottom line is, if you plan on hunting the Light Goose Conservation Order, time is of the essence as the expiration date on this year’s Lower 48 spring snow goose migration is rapidly approaching.