Winter storms that brought brutally cold temperatures and snow earlier this month to the southern reaches of the Central and Mississippi Flyways were more than enough to keep light geese on their traditional wintering grounds, but with temperatures moderating and snow and ice receding, the door is now wide open for snows, blues, and Ross’s geese to begin their spring migration north.
Tony Vandemore, guide and co-owner of Habitat Flats in Sumner, Missouri, believes that the recent weather will benefit hunters participating in the 2021 Light Goose Conservation Order.
“The big cold front definitely pushed everything in our area back south, and I like that, because we get a crack at them when they come back north,” says Vandemore, who guides spring snow goose hunters in Arkansas and Missouri. “Snow goose hunting is always a numbers game; the more you have over your decoys, the better your chances.”
That push north has already begun, Vandemore says, and the adult geese on the leading edge of the migration have been providing steady results for hunters.
“We haven’t seen much for juvenile geese yet, although there do seem to be more around than the past two years. What we are seeing is a lot of skinny birds, which shows the physical toll that the cold weather had on them,” Vandemore says. “This makes me think that the migration north could be delayed slightly as the birds feed heavily to rebuild fat reserves.”
With the exception of a band of snow currently stretching across portions of southern Nebraska and Iowa, there is little in the way of snow cover to keep light geese from pushing north to the endless fields of harvested corn, soybeans and small grains across the Midwest and Great Plains. And with a short-term weather forecast calling for big winds out of the south and temperatures on the rise, lakes and rivers will also be losing their winter layer of ice soon. So light goose hunters should get ready. The spring migration will be in full swing sooner rather than later.